2016 in beach volleyball was a year marked by dominance. After World Tours, the Olympic Games, and Continental Championships, there was an undisputed-best men’s pair in the world (Alison and Bruno Schmidt from Brazil) and an undisputed best women’s team in the world (Laura Ludwig and Kira Wilkenhorst from Germany).
That doesn’t mean that neither team was challenged. Wilkenhorst and Ludwig, for example, lost all of their pool play games at the 2016 FIVB World Tour Finals before coming back to win the whole tournament. When the dust settled, though, there was no doubt that the two pairs were the best for their respective gender in the world in 2016.
Alison and Bruno Schmidt won 4 stops on the FIVB World Tour, the FIVB World Tour Championship Tournament, and most importantly Olympic gold. They did lose a game in Olympic play, falling to Austrian’s Doppler and Horst in pool play, but dropped only 2 sets in 4 rounds of knockout play to stand atop the podium.
Walkenhorst and Ludwig were even more dominant in their run to gold. They didn’t lose a single game, and only gave up 1 set, in the entirety of their 7-game run in the Olympic tournament. They also took the European Championship in Switzerland before the Olympics and a World Tour title after.
Below, the Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series put together a highlight video of the best from the World Tour in 2016. The new FIVB beach season starts in February in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.