Long Beach, Calif., USA, August 24, 2016 — Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross are the proud new owners of an Olympic bronze medal in Beach Volleyball, an achievement that they grew to appreciate coming home from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.Quick links - Long BeachLong Beach Grand Slam websiteQualification - MenQualification - WomenMain draw - MenMain draw - Women
They took the sand Wednesday in the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball featuring the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam for the first time since conquering Brazilians Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes to capture third place, but it’s upward and onward once again for the stars from the United States.
The 2016 FIVB World Tour regular season is concluding in the United States with the double-gender ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball being held Tuesday through Sunday on a colorful purpose-built venue at Alamitos Beach adjacent to Marina Green Park on East Shoreline Drive.
“We got home Friday and Saturday (respectively), took some time with our family and showed up to practice (Tuesday) and we were a little slow and our coach (Marcio Sicoli) stopped it in the middle,” Ross said. “He was like ‘Snap into it, we’ve got a tournament to play.’ He kind of got us going and said we need to be here mind, body and soul and just realizing that and showing up with that intention was important.”
Their intentions were pure as top-seeded Walsh Jennings/Ross won their two pool-play matches in the final regular season event on the 2016 FIVB World Tour.
“This is a huge tournament, the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, it’s the best in the world, were fighting for another gold medal,” Walsh Jennings said. “It’s not the Olympic gold medal but the prize money is huge, the exposure is huge for our sport so we need to show up. People are showing up to see us play how we played in Rio with that heart and that flag on our chest. We’re here to do our best.”American April Ross saves the ball
“I want that surfboard, too,” Ross chimed in with a laugh, referencing one of the prizes awarded to the tournament winners.ASICS WSOVB
While the cornerstone of the beach volleyball celebration is the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam (regular season finale of the 2016 FIVB World Tour), the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball encompasses a wide variety of additional elements . Also part of the beach festival will be live entertainment, a special celebrity center court match, an expansive vendor’s village, multiple open, junior and youth beach volleyball tournaments and the very special legends of the game tribute dinner all at the event venue.
For complete details regarding the entire ASICS WSOBV lineup of events and activities including premium seating tickets, visit the event website at www.wsobv.com.POOL POWER
Brazil’s Larissa and Talita, the top-ranked team in the world going into the Olympics, also won their two matches to take control of Pool B. The women will all play one final pool match on Thursday before the elimination rounds begin on Friday.Brazilian Talita Antunes spikes against USA's Kelley Larsen
Also going undefeated Wednesday were No. 16 seeds Liliane Maestrini/Maria Antonelli of Brazil, who will be the next opponents for Walsh Jennings and Ross.
Third-seeded Karla Borger and Britta Buthe of Germany had two victories in Pool C and will face No. 14 Nina Betschart and Tanja Huberli of Switzerland, fourth-seeded Eduarda Lisboa/Elize Maia of Brazil and No. 13 Ilke Semmler and Katrin Holtwick won twice in Pool D, 12th-seeded Olympians Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug of Argentina won twice in Pool E, and No. 11 Olympians Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova of Czech Republic did the same in Pool F.
Seventh-seeded Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandez of Spain and No. 10 Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland, two Olympic teams, both went 2-0 in Pool G and will meet Thursday. United States Olympians Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat, seeded eighth, went 2-0 in Pool G.BACK IN THE USA
While Walsh Jennings and Ross said they consider the Long Beach tournament as an extension of Rio de Janeiro, they’re admittedly looking toward the future.
Ross, 34, said she is ready to take aim at the Tokyo 2020 Games, though the 38-year-old Walsh Jennings isn’t yet sure if she will join the chase for a fifth medal to go with her bronze and three golds.
“I have full intent to keep playing and go for Tokyo but this is still Rio for us,” Ross said. “This is kind of our homecoming of Rio. Yeah, I’d love to try and start a family so after this season, that’s priority No. 1.”
Walsh Jennings, whose career has included the births of her three children, understandably would rather wait to determine her pursuits. But she didn’t rule it out.
“For me, I’m still up in the air,” she said. “I don’t know if people understand what is required of the Olympics and we’re so depleted, so to think about any huge decision is just a silly kind of thing. But I understand the question.”FIVB LONG BEACH GRAND SLAM PURSE/POINTS
The gold medal teams at the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam will split $57,000 and 800 points, the silver $43,000 and 720 points, the bronze $32,000 and 640 points and fourth place $24,000 and 560 points.SWATCH FIVB WORLD TOUR FINALS
As part of the second season of the sponsor partnership, the Swatch FIVB Beach Volleyball Season Final will also be held again. Being held in Toronto, Canada, the finale will be held on Sept. 13-18. The event will again feature the top eight teams and four wildcards for each gender from the 2016 FIVB World Tour. This illustrious group will compete for a total purse of $500,000 with the winning men and women’s tandems receiving $100,000 each. The inaugural Swatch FIVB World Tour Season Final was held last September in the USA at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.ON THE HORIZON
Following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, there are two more events scheduled on the 2016 FIVB World Tour calendar. First event scheduled is in the United States--the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball at the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam (Aug. 23-28) and the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals (Sept. 13-18, Toronto, Canada). The Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals, with $100,000 going to each winning team, will feature the top eight point leaders in each gender from the current FIVB World Tour plus four wild card teams in each gender.GROWING HISTORY
The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball at the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam in the United States will be the 350th men’s tournament since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 311th FIVB women’s tournament since their competition started in 1992. FIVB 2016
Based in Lausanne, Switzerland as the international governing body for the Olympic sports of Beach Volleyball and Volleyball, the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball calendar features a purse of US$8.25 million with a season that extends from last October to this October, competing at 22 venues in 12 countries. The schedule includes four FIVB Grand Slams, four Swatch FIVB Major Series events, 13 FIVB Opens and the special Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals. The showcase event will be the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil (Aug. 6-18).
The 2015 portion of the 2016 FIVB World Tour calendar started in October in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and included two more open events prior to the remainder of the schedule resuming at the FIVB Kish Island Open in Iran in February.