Beach Volleyball Olympic qualification demystified *updated after Cincinnati 5/21/2016, includes link to downloadable spreadsheet*

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Phil Dalhausser 3/9/2020-Beijing Olympics 2008-Gold Medal
Phil Dalhausser blocks Brazil's Marcio Araujo to secure the Gold Medal in 2008/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Let’s face it: The qualifying process is really confusing. So here you go, everything you wanted to know about the 2016 Olympic Beach Volleyball Qualification but were afraid to ask. And there’s a simple summary at the bottom once you get through the explanations.

Would you like to be one of the 24 beach volleyball teams in the Rio Olympics? First, you must participate in a minimum of 12 FIVB Olympic Qualification tournaments between January 1, 2015, and June 12, 2016. Once youve done that, there are five ways to qualify:

1. Host the Olympics. Evandro Goncalves/Pedro Solberg and Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes of Brazil are the designated host teams.

2. Win the 2015 World Championships in the Netherlands. Alison Cerutti/Bruno Schmidt and Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas of Brazil did that. They are in. Yes, the Brazilian teams are now sipping a caipirinha (that’s like a Brazilian Mai Tai) in the shade, watching the rest of the world battle it out for the remaining Olympic berths.

3. The 15 highest-ranked teams as of June 13, 2016 will each earn berths in the Olympics. This Olympiad, because both the host country and the World Champions are Brazilians, the 17th highest ranked teams will earn Olympic spots. Rankings are determined by a team’s 12 highest finishes in Grand Slam and Open tournaments during the Qualification period (January 1, 2015 to June 12, 2016). However, there is a maximum of two teams per country, so if youre 10th-ranked Karin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler of Germany, 11th-ranked Juliana Felisberta/Maria Antonelli of Brazil, 18th-ranked Chaltal Laboureur/Julia Sude, 20th ranked Jen Kessy/Emily Day, or 13th-ranked Tri Bourne and John Hyden, you cant qualify unless you overtake one of your countrymen. Only FIVB Grand Slam tournaments and Open events count toward this total. Open finishes are worth roughly 63 percent of a Grand Slam finish.

4. Win your respective Continental Cup (there are five). For the USA, the NorCECA Continental Cup is in Acapulco, Mexico, from June 20-26. Again, there is a maximum of two teams per country, so the Continental Cup is not likely to apply for the U.S. teams.

5. Finish in the top two in the World Olympic Qualification Cup in Sochi, Russia, July 6-10. Again, this scenario is not likely to apply to the US.

Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena have past Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson into fifth place with 5,720 points after Moscow, yielding them 120 points. They have met their 12 minimum finishes and can add to their total in Hamburg if they finish 9th or better.

Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson look solid. They are ranked sixth with 5,500 points (having added 260 points in Moscow), and have completed their minimum events requirement.

Tri Bourne and John Hyden are mathematically eliminated from passing Gibb/Patterson or Dalhausser/Lucena. Their current total is 4,850 points, and their maximum improvement is 520 points in Hamburg.

On the women’s side, Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross lead the U.S. contingent with 6,350 points, good for third place overall.

Brooke Sweat/Lauren Fendrick have a firm grasp on the second U.S. berth. They currently lead compatriots Jen Kessy/Emily Day 4,470 points to 3,980, a deficit of 490 points. Both teams have satisfied the minimum finishes requirement. With one tournament remaining, Sweat/Fendrick’s low finish is 120. Similarly, Kessy/Day’s low finish is 120.

In order for Kessy/Day to move beyond Sweat/Fendrick, they need to win Hamburg, presuming that Sweat/Fendrick were unable to improve their points. Sweat/Fendrick can shut the door on Kessy/Day by placing ninth.

Sweat/Fendrick also need to keep an eye on teams in their review mirror; if three teams pass them in Hamburg, such as China’s Wang/Yue, Argentina’s Gallay/Klug, or Russia’s Ukolova/Birlova, they could drop into 18th and out of contention.

However, the FIVB fine print states that the qualification process just earns berths for the country, the United States National Governing Board could select qualifying teams arbitrarily. This would involve a volleyball revolution to change at this point in the process, but there has been some past discussion regarding Olympic trials, as in other sports.

To sum up:
Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb have qualified.
Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena have qualified.
Tri Bourne and John Hyden are out, despite finishing 15th in Olympic qualification rankings due to the country quota system.
Kerri Walsh/April Ross have qualified, having completed their minimum qualifying finishes requirement. They currently rank third and are likely to remain in third unless they win Hamburg and Bednarczuk/Seixas exit early.
Brooke Sweat/Lauren Fendrick, the dog and pony show, need a ninth place to guarantee their Olympic berth. They also need to ensure that their current 15th place ranking drops no lower than 17th.
Jen Kessy/Emily Day must win Hamburg in order to have a chance to qualify.

Notes:

For those that would like to examine hypothetical scenarios for Olympic Qualification for the last three events, you can download a spreadsheet here.

The Excel spreadsheet shows the Olympic Qualifying points scores for 2015-16. Yellow scores must be used fro Qualification, blue scores are the three lowest scores that can be replaced, and red scores are thrown out in favor of higher scores.

The second tab, “What if”, represents what teams need to do in order to qualify. Replace the yellow scores with potential finishes at Cincinnati, Moscow, or Hamburg (table with point values is below).

The “Net Points” field will automatically tally the changes in Olympic qualification scores.

Links:

Current Points, Women

Current Points, Men

FIVB regulations, point values are on page 14:

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