April Ross, left, and Alix Klineman celebrate in Doha

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 25, 2021) – The 2021 race for beach volleyball slots at the Tokyo Olympic Games got off to a good start at the FIVB World Tour four-star event on March 8-12 in Doha, Qatar.

USA Volleyball placed two teams each in the women’s and the men’s medal matches and came away with a gold medal and a bronze. USAV’s Alix Klineman/April Ross won the women’s event while U.S. team Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb beat countrymen Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena for the bronze medal.

USAV’s Kelley Kolinske/Emily Stockman placed fourth.

When the FIVB announced only five more beach qualifying events in 2021 (more on that later), Klineman/Ross mathematically secured their ticket to Tokyo. The “A Team” now has 9,080 provisional Olympic ranking points and no U.S. team can move ahead of it (no athlete is officially on the U.S. Olympic team until the USOPC announces the official roster prior to the Olympic Games).

A reminder about how beach Olympic qualification works: Qualifying teams must compete in at least 12 FIVB World Tour events during the qualification period, (June 1, 2018-June 13, 2021­). If a team competes in more than 12 events, only its top 12 results will be counted. Teams that finish in the top 15 of the FIVB provisional Olympic rankings will qualify. If more than two teams from a country finish in the top 15, only the top two qualify.

All U.S. beach Olympic contenders have competed in 12 events (Doha was the 12th for Dalhausser/Lucena). To move up in the rankings, teams must replace lesser results in their 12.

For example, Klineman/Ross earned 800 points for winning Doha. That 800 points replaced 480 points the team earned with a fifth-place finish in Xiamen, China in 2019. The team’s net points increase was 320.

Klineman/Ross lead all teams in the FIVB provisional Olympic rankings. They are 80 points ahead of Canada’s Sara Pavan/Melissa Humana-Paredes whom the A Team beat for gold in Doha. If the Olympics were held tomorrow, Klineman/Ross would most likely be the top seeds. This is assuming that seeding in Tokyo will be the same as in the past several Olympic Games.

U.S. Women’s Provisional Olympic Rankings (first number is overall ranking)
1. Alix Klineman/April Ross 9,080 (1st place in Doha, +320 pts after Doha)
5. Brooke Sweat/Kerri Walsh Jennings, 6,960 (9th place in Doha, no change after Doha)
6. Kelly Claes/Sarah Sponcil 6,720 (5th place in Doha, +80 pts after Doha)
7. Kelley Kolinske/Emily Stockman 6,320 (4th place in Doha, +240 pts after Doha)

On the men’s side, the 640 points that Crabb/Gibb won for third place in Doha replaces a 17th place they took in Espinho, Portugal in 2019 for 320 points. Their overall point total increased to 7,000.

U.S. Men’s Provisional Olympic Rankings (first number is overall ranking)
8. Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb 7,000 (3rd place in Doha, +320 pts after Doha)
13. Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena 6,400 (4th place in Doha, +560 pts after Doha)
14. Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb 6,360 (Did not compete in Doha after losing a country-quota playoff)

During the Doha event, the FIVB announced there will be five more four-star qualifying events before the Tokyo Olympic Games. These begin with a three-weekend, three-event bubble April 16-May 2 in Cancun, Mexico.

Four-star events are also scheduled for Sochi, Russia (May 26-30) and Ostrava, Czech Republic (June 2-6).

USA Volleyball can register six women’s teams and six men’s teams into each of these events (unless a team gets a wild card entry from the FIVB). Entry into these events depends on a team’s FIVB entry points (different from Olympic qualifying points).

Only four U.S. teams can compete in each event (unless a team get a wild card). That is why a country-quota playoff is sometimes needed to determine which teams will get spots into the qualifier round. In Cancun, the country-quota matches will be played on site prior to the start of each weekend’s tournament.

Because there are only five more Olympic qualifying events on the schedule, all the top teams from around the world are expected to enter. Only U.S. teams with the most entry points will go straight into the main draw (the deadline to enter Cancun is March 25).

View the FIVB competition page for the Cancun bubble on April 16-20

For full USA Volleyball Olympic Beach Athlete Selection Procedures, view OUR PDF

For more information on USAV Beach Event Registration for international events, view OUR PDF