What a field! The pro beach season is finishing with a flourish as the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals gets under way in Italy on Wednesday.
Five days, an $800,000 purse, and 10 great teams on both sides.
And one of them marks the Jake Gibb farewell tour as he and Taylor Crabb play together for the final time. The other Americans in the field are Olympic gold-medalists April Ross and Alix Klineman, and Olympians Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil.
The event in Cagliari, which is on the island of Sardina, starts with two round-robin pools of five. The pool winners will advance to Saturday’s semifinals, while each of the two pool runners-up will have to go against the third-place team from the other pool in the quarterfinals, also on Saturday.
The medal matches are Sunday.
The men’s field includes Olympic gold-medalists Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway, and the bronze-medalists, Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan of Qatar.
There are two teams from the host country, Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi and Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo, and two teams from the Netherlands in Christiaan Varenhorst and Steven van de Velde, and Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen.
The remaining competitors are Gibb-Crabb, Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner of Czechia, Ilya Leshukov and Konstantin Semenov of Russia, and Martins Plavins Edgars Tocs of Latvia.
The rest of the women’s field includes Olympic bronze-medalists Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidrich and Nina Betschart and Tanja Huberli of Switzerland, Karla Borger and Julia Sude of Germany, Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes of Canada, Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Duda Lisboa of Brazil, Nadezda Makroguzova and Svetlana Kholomina of Russia, Madelein Meppelink and Sanne Keizer of the Netherlands, and Italy’s Marta Menegatti and Valentina Gottardi.
You can watch the event on the FIVB YouTube channel.