Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

Beach Update: Rio Grand Slam, return of teams, jumps in rankings

The FIVB World Tour is heading back to the site of the 2016 Olympic Games with the highly anticipated Rio Grand Slam, set to start on March 8. This event marks the return of some top teams and brings exciting changes in the rankings.

Teams Making a Comeback

Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross, who last played in Rio at the 2015 FIVB Rio Open, will be making their 2016 debut at the upcoming Rio Grand Slam. Joining them are point leaders Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson, who will also be competing in Rio for their first tournament of the season.

Changes in Rankings

In the new provisional Olympic rankings, John Hyden and Tri Bourne have climbed two spots to ninth, despite only playing one match at the Maceio Open due to an injury withdrawal. The biggest jump for the U.S. is from Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, who were previously ranked 18th but now find themselves tied for 14th and trailing by only 140 points behind Hyden/Bourne. They are also 520 points behind Gibb/Patterson, creating an exciting competition among these top teams.

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Among the American women, there have been no significant changes in the rankings. Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat continue to lead the pack among the top three U.S. teams, holding the 12th position. Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day are ranked 15th, closing in on the point gap with their compatriots by 230 points. Ross/Walsh Jennings are currently 22nd overall after participating in seven events and are looking to score valuable points at the Grand Slam.

What’s at Stake?

In Open events, teams can earn points ranging from 500 for first place to 400 for third place, among other positions. In Grand Slams and Major Series, the podium finishers earn even more points, with 800, 720, and 640 points being awarded to the top three teams, respectively. With 10 men’s events and nine women’s events remaining in the FIVB rankings Olympic qualification, it’s a crucial time for teams to secure their positions. The U.S. men’s teams will be striving for a top two spot among Americans in the Top 17, while the women will continue to race to solidify themselves in the Top 17. Additionally, they must meet the minimum event quota of 12 and keep their best performances for points in order to stay ahead of other American teams.

Exciting Upcoming Tournaments

After the Rio Grand Slam, the four-week swing in Brazil concludes with the Vitoria Open taking place from March 15-20. The National Volleyball League has also announced its 2016 Tour schedule, which includes six confirmed dates and two possible tournaments that may be added.

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FAQs

Q: Who are the top-ranked American teams in the provisional Olympic rankings?
A: The top-ranked American teams in the provisional Olympic rankings are Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat for women and Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson for men.

Conclusion

The Rio Grand Slam promises to be an exciting event, bringing together top teams from around the world. With teams making their return and changes in the rankings, it’s a crucial time for athletes to secure their spots in the Olympic qualification rankings. Stay tuned to witness intense competition and thrilling matches as teams strive for glory on the road to the 2016 Olympics.

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