Monday, 27 May 2024

Beach Update: The World Tour Brazil swing starts this week

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – American beach volleyball athletes are gearing up for the 2016 Olympic qualification with the upcoming FIVB Maceio Open in Brazil. This marks the next opportunity for beach athletes to secure a spot in the 2016 Olympics through the FIVB Olympic Rankings. With only a limited number of events remaining, the pressure is on for U.S. athletes to make their mark in the qualification process that began in April 2015.

The Road to the Olympics

At the forefront of the qualification race, the U.S. has three men’s and women’s teams working hard to secure a spot in the top 17 of provisional Olympic Rankings and become one of the top two American teams. To be considered, teams must have competed in 12 events together as a pair. Fortunately, with the number of tournaments played in 2015, U.S. duos won’t have to rush to meet this requirement. The focus now is on strategizing when and where to compete in order to stay healthy and earn valuable points to move up in the rankings. Skipping an event can be a risky move, as other teams and countries can potentially overtake them. Once a team reaches the necessary number of events, they can keep their 12 best finishes and discard their lower-scoring performances.

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This Week in Maceio, Brazil

The American 2016 FIVB season kicks off with the Maceio Open in Brazil from February 23rd to 28th. Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, who had a successful run in 2015 with six medals, will be looking to make their mark once again. Currently seeded second at the Open, they are hot on the heels of Brazil’s Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg. Tri Bourne and John Hyden, ranked 11th in the world and second among U.S. men, are seeded sixth. Completing the American men’s lineup are Theo Brunner and Sean Rosenthal, who are automatically in the main draw and currently ranked 15th overall. On the women’s front, Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat, the leading U.S. women’s team, are seeded seventh at the tournament. Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day and Lane Carico/Summer Ross follow behind at 14th and 22nd respectively.

Continuing the World Tour in Brazil

The second stop in Brazil is the first Grand Slam event of the 2016 calendar year. Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson, the U.S. point leaders, will be joining six other men’s teams in the competition. Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross will also be making their debut among six women’s teams. The last time Walsh Jennings and Ross played together was at the FIVB Rio Open in September 2015, where they tied for ninth place. To conclude the four-week series in Brazil, the Vitoria Open will take place from March 15th to 20th.

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U21 Trials – USA Teams for FIVB World Championships

Looking ahead, the U.S. has already selected its pairs for the upcoming 2016 U21 World Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland, held from May 12th to 16th. The winners of the men’s bracket, Nathanael Vander Meer and Ben Vaught, will enter the World Championships through the main draw, while runners-up Cam Rodrigues and Kyle Skinner will play through qualification. In the women’s division, Sarah Sponcil and Torrey Van Winden will compete as a main draw entry, with Abril Bustamante and Zana Muno going through qualification.


Q: What is the FIVB Maceio Open?
The FIVB Maceio Open is one of the events in the qualification process for the 2016 Olympics. It is a crucial opportunity for beach volleyball athletes to earn points towards their Olympic ranking.

Q: How many events are left in the qualification process?
There are 12 men’s and 11 women’s events remaining before the qualification process closes on June 13th, 2016.

Q: How do teams qualify for the Olympics?
Teams must secure a spot in the top 17 of provisional Olympic Rankings and be one of the top two American teams to qualify for the Olympics.

Q: Can teams skip events during the qualification process?
Teams can choose to skip events, but it comes with the risk of being overtaken by other teams and countries in the rankings.

Q: What happens once a team reaches the necessary number of events?
Once a team has competed in 12 events together, they can keep their 12 best finishes and drop their lower-scoring performances.

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As the journey to the 2016 Olympics continues, American beach volleyball athletes are preparing for the upcoming FIVB Maceio Open and the rest of the World Tour in Brazil. The competition is fierce, and every point matters in the race for Olympic qualification. Stay tuned to see which teams will secure their spots among the best in the world on the road to Rio!