2016 Association of Volleyball Professionals Tournament in Huntington Beach 8

U.S. Beach Volleyball goes for the gold

The Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) is the premier American professional beach volleyball tour and exclusive U.S. beach volleyball home of the nation’s top male and female athletes, including Olympic gold, silver and bronze medalists. The tour is entering its 33rd season. Under the ownership of Donald Sun since 2012, the AVP is scheduled to hold eight tournaments across the U.S. This year, the 2016 AVP Roadmap launched on Friday, January 29, in New Orleans, continuing on to Huntington Beach, Cincinnati (Federation of International Volleyball or FIVB), Seattle, New York, San Francisco, Manhattan Beach, and, finally, finishing this coming September 4 in Chicago.

Locally, since 2000, Huntington Beach has been pleased to host the AVP tour. This year, the event took place May 5 to May 8 on the north side of the city’s pier. The female team winners for the Huntington Beach tournament were formed by 2012 Olympic silver medalist April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic gold medalist. The team acquired 750 points and a $15,000 prize. The male team winners were Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson. They received 750 points and $15,000 as well.

Following the Huntington Beach tournament, the tour joined the Federation of International Volleyball (FIVB) tours to bring the only 2016 Olympic qualifier to the United States in a five-day event in Cincinnati, May 15-22. In order to qualify for an Olympic berth, internationally ranked teams must compete in and earn points at 12 FIVB tournaments and be ranked among the top 15 in the world. Each country can send a maximum of four teams, two per gender, to the games. The Cincinnati Open came at a critical time for Olympic contenders earning their spot in Rio 2016 and building momentum towards the games.

On June 12th, USA Volleyball stated, “Four athletes will make their first Olympic appearance alongside four veterans when the U.S. Olympic Beach Volleyball Team goes to the 2016 Olympic Games.” The qualified teams are:

Kerri Walsh Jennings (2004, 2008, 2012) and April Ross (2012)

Brooke Sweat and Lauren Fendrick

Phil Dalhausser (2008, 2012) and Nick Lucena

Jake Gibb (2008, 2012) and Casey Patterson

Of the eight players listed for the U.S. team, four have Olympic experience and three gold medals. Only one team is not comprised of at least one Olympian. Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat will make their Olympic debut together in Rio.

Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross were the first team to mathematically qualify for the Rio Games at the Cincinnati Open. Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson and Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena mathematically clinched their spots at the Moscow Grand Slam.

Olympic newcomers Brooke Sweat and Lauren Fendrick secured the fourth and final U.S. spot at Hamburg’s Major Series, knocking London silver medalist Jen Kessy and partner Emily Day out of Olympic consideration.

The top three nations with the most gold medals are: U.S (6), Brazil (2) and Australia and Germany (1). For the silver medals, the countries are: Brazil (6), USA (2) and China and Spain (1).

Brazil is the nation with the largest number of medals (11), followed by United States (9), Australia, Germany & China (2), and in fourth place, Spain, Canada, Latvia and Switzerland with (1).

The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games will run from August 5 to August 21, with the Beach Volleyball Tournament taking place at Copacabana Beach, beginning August 6.

The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games will run from August 5 to August 21, with the Beach Volleyball Tournament taking place at Copacabana Beach, beginning August 6.