The Washington Post

For Olympic volleyball hopefuls, life’s not a beach

Kerri Walsh (C) and Misty May-Treanor aren’t clear on how, and when, they’re supposed to qualify for the London Olympics. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

We’re about 53 weeks away from the start of the 2012 Summer Games, and Olympic hopefuls are training with aspirations of competing in London. For men’s boxers, that means qualifying during the first week of August in Mobile, Ala.

For swimmers and runners, that means peaking at world championships over the next month to take measure of their abilities against the global elite about a year before the Games. Qualifying for the Americans in swimming and track will be next June in Omaha and Eugene.

For beach volleyball players, it means . . . well, it’s not clear what it means. Since beach volleyball became an Olympic sport in 1996, the American entries were chosen at trials. After Beijing, the teams were supposed to be determined by performances in the Association of Volleyball Professionals, a summer tour that players hoped would gain popularity as an Olympic qualifier.

But the tour went bankrupt last year, and now players and USA Volleyball are feuding over how the team will be selected and when. It’s a very harsh vibe for the beach. Stay tuned.

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