AVP beach volleyball tour to open in Atlanta after Olympics

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The AVP beach volleyball tour is counting on an Olympic bump this summer.

The U.S. pro tour announced a schedule Monday that will open Aug. 13, the week after the gold medal is awarded in Tokyo. The first tournament will be in Atlanta, where the sport made its Olympic debut in 1996.

"We know beach athletes and fans are ready to be back on the sand, feeling the electricity that only an AVP Pro event can bring,” tour owner Donald Sun said.

The AVP had planned an eight-event season last year before shutting down in March after the COVID-19 outbreak. It rebooted in July with a three-tournament, fan-free series on successive weekends, all in Long Beach, California.

This summer’s season will welcome fans back to the beach after the Olympics, when many of the top teams will be playing in Tokyo. After opening in Atlanta Aug. 13-15, the tour goes to California for the Manhattan Beach Open Aug. 20-22 and then Chicago Sept. 3-5. A possible fourth event is still being discussed.

The U.S. has qualified the maximum four, two-person teams for the Olympic beach volleyball tournament.

Two-time Olympic medalist April Ross and partner Alix Klineman will be joined by rookies Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes in the women's field. 2008 gold medalist Phil Dalhausser is heading to his fourth Olympics, joined by partner Nick Lucena. Jake Gibb is also making his fourth trip, this time with partner Taylor Crabb.

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