Tokyo Olympics: From Alexandra Klineman to Kelly Claes, the hottest women of beach volleyball
The volleyball games at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be played between July 24 and August 8, 2021. As many as 48 beach volleyball teams will participate in the tournament that will be held at Shiokaze Park, in the temporary Shiokaze Park Stadium.
As per the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball, as of July 5, of the women’s teams in the Games, Ágatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda ‘Duda’ Santos Lisboa of Brazil were ranked as the most formidable duo in the discipline. They were followed, though by a substantial difference in points, by Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes of Canada.
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Let’s take a look at some of the hottest beach volleyball players participating in the Olympics.
Alexandra ‘Alix’ Klineman of the US
An athlete all throughout high school and college, the 31-year-old in 2017 left indoor volleyball to focus on beach volleyball full-time. Klineman is partnered with April Ross for the Games.
Agatha Bednarczuk of Brazil
The 38-year-old international beach volleyball player is not new to the Games. Bednarczuk and Bárbara Seixas de Freitas beat Kerri Walsh-Jennings and April Ross of the US in the 2016 Rio Olympics semifinal. The pair, however, lost to Germany's Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst in a stunning defeat.
Melissa Humana-Paredes of Canada
The 28-year-old Canadian beach volleyball player along with Sarah Pavan won the women's gold medal at the 2019 Beach Volleyball World Championships. Humana-Paredes plays as a left-side defender and started representing Canada in the sport at the young age of 16.
Joana Heidrich of Switzerland
For this 29-year-old Swiss beach volleyball player, the Games will be a chance to find redemption for her 2016 Rio Olympics loss. After her former partner Nadine Zumkehr retired, Heidrich is now teamed up with Anouk Verge-Depre, whose own former partner Isabelle Forrer retired.
Kelly Claes of the US
This 25-year-old American professional beach volleyball player is a native of California. She, along with partner Sara Hughes, won the bronze medal at the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships. They also won the silver medal at the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships.
Laura Ludwig of Germany
The 35-year-old German professional beach volleyball player is a defender. And more than anyone else, she has herself to compete with. Ludwig won the gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. She also won gold at the 2016 World Tour Finals in Toronto. In 2017, she and Kira Walkenhorst won the World Championship in Vienna.
Eduarda Santos Lisboa of Brazil
This 22-year-old Brazilian beach volleyball player is a bit of a prodigy. Duda Lisboa is a two-time U21 World champion and a three-time U19 World champion. She has also won four World Tour events. She will team up with the more experienced Agatha Bednarczuk at the games.
Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland
This 29-year-old Swiss beach volleyball player is also a veteran at the Games. She represented her country at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janerio but faced defeat. Verge-Depre and former partner Isabelle Forrer were eliminated in the round of 16 by German pair Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst. She will now team up with Joana Heidrich.
Sarah Sponcil of the US
A born and raised Phoenician who hails from Arizona, this 24-year-old professional beach volleyball player won back-to-back National Championships in beach volleyball in 2018 and 2019. Teaming up with a former rival, Kelly Claes, Sponcil has potential at the Games. After all, she and Claes are currently sitting in third place in the run for 2021.
Margareta Kozuch of Germany
This 34-year-old German professional volleyball player of Polish descent was the German sportswoman of the year in 2010. Kozuch, who is teaming up with Laura Ludwig for the games is ranked at the tenth spot as per FIVB.