Who's back?

Team USA's Kelly Cheng (formerly Claes) returns to the Olympic court after failing to win a medal in Tokyo. In 2020, Cheng and partner Sarah Sponcil were bounced in the Round of 16. 

Reigning men's champions, Anders Mol and Christian Sorum are returning to the court still at the top of their game. The pair, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, have added to their medal collection since Tokyo, including taking home the gold at the World Championship in 2022. 

Who's gone?

Many familiar American faces will be noticeably gone in Paris. 

Tokyo Olympic women's champions April Ross and Alix Klineman are just returning to the tour after becoming mothers last year, and won't be competing in Paris.  

Gold medalist Phil Dalhausser retired in 2021. After winning gold in his Olympic debut in 2008 in Beijing, Dalhausser competed in his final Olympics in Tokyo. 

American Jake Gibb became the oldest volleyball Olympian in history when he competed at the Tokyo Olympics at age 45. After excelling at beach volleyball for two decades, Gibb made his fourth and final appearance at the Olympics in Tokyo before retiring in 2021.

Two-time Olympian Nick Lucena retired in 2022 - but hasn't stayed far from the court. He is currently the assistant beach volleyball coach at Florida State.

New faces to watch

Joining Kelly Cheng on the court will be her former University of Southern California teammate, Sara Hughes. Cheng and Hughes dominated collegiate beach volleyball as teammates at USC, winning back-to-back NCAA titles. In 2017, the California natives started pro careers together, but by 2018, they had split to pursue the Tokyo Olympics with different partners. Hughes failed to qualify for Tokyo, and Cheng failed to win a medal at the 2020 Games. In late 2022, the two reunited and only a year later became world champions. The former teammates will now pursue their first Olympic medal together in Paris.

Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss have already made U.S. Olympic beach volleyball history twice. They are the country's first volleyball team that doesn’t primarily train in California. At 5-foot-6, New Orleans native Nuss is almost a foot shorter than Kloth, her 6-4 teammate from South Dakota. They have the greatest height difference for a U.S. Olympic beach volleyball team. However, their differences don't seem to matter on the Olympic beach volleyball court, where the two recently took bronze home after a tough semifinal against countrywomen Cheng and Hughes at the World Championships.