Top beach volleyball players to watch in Rio
Kerri Walsh Jennings
Kerri Walsh Jennings is returning to make her fifth Olympic appearance, her fourth in beach volleyball, at the Rio Games. She holds three consecutive Olympic gold medals with former partner Misty May-Treanor. When May-Treanor announced her plans to retire after the London Games, Walsh Jennings looked to the other side of the net for a new partner. She will battle on the Copacabana sands alongside London silver medalist April Ross.
Team USA’s Phil Dalhausser is returning to compete in his third consecutive Olympic Games. Dalhausser claimed gold in his debut at the Beijing Games alongside Todd Rogers. At the 2012 Games, the duo fell to Italian’s Daniel Lupo and Paolo Nicolai in the Round of 16. Rogers and Dalhausser split shortly after and Dalhausser went on to play with Sean Rosenthal. The duo split in 2015 and Dalhausser joined forces with Nick Lucena. The pair enter the Olympic tournament as a the third-seeded team.
Brazil’s Larissa Franca will make her third Olympic appearance at the 2016 Games, this time on home sand. Larissa won bronze at the 2012 Games alongside then-partner Juliana. Now Larissa plays with fellow three-time Olympian Talita and the duo topped the provisional Olympic rankings ahead of the Games.
German beach volleyball player Laura Ludwig will make her third Olympic appearance at the Rio Games. Ludwig began playing with her current partner Kira Walkenhorst in 2013 and the pair have proven to be a dominant force throughout the 2015-16 season. Ludwig, often considered one of the top defensive players, has secured two top place finishes on the 2016 FIVB World Tour.
Brazil’s Alison Cerutti is returning for his second Olympic Games. The 6-foot-8 beach volleyball player took silver at the London Games alongside Brazil’s legendary Emanuel Rego. Alison began playing with current partner Oscar Bruno Schmidt in 2014. Nicknamed “the Mammoth”, Alison has proved to a be force to be reckoned with. Alison and Bruno Schmidt boast ten first-place finishes on the FIVB World Tour, to include a top finish at the 2015 World Championships.