FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam returns to Long Beach

After a decade away from the United States prior to 2013, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar returns for the third straight year for the double-gender 2015 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam. The Long Beach, Calif. event, to be held from August 18 to 23, will be 12th FIVB World Tour competition held in the United States.

With the first USA visit being held in Miami, Florida in 1994, the 1997 event was the inaugural FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, held in the Tennis Center stadium at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA). The other two stops in the United States in 2015 will be the FIVB St. Petersburg Grand Slam in Florida (from August 18 to 23) and the season-ending Swatch FIVB Season Final in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (from September 29 to October 4).

This year’s FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam will be fourth of five double-gender FIVB Grand Slams, each with a total purse of $800,000 each, on the FIVB World Tour 2015. A pair of teams from the USA won the men’s and women’s gold medal in last year’s only US stop in Long Beach, Calif. Winning men’s gold was the duo of Phil Dalhausser/Sean Rosenthal while topping the women’s podium on their home sand was the duo of Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross.

Including the 2014 event, the United States has hosted a total of 22 FIVB World Tour events (11 men, 11 women) with Brazil leading the medal count in both genders.  In the men’s totals after 11 events in USA, Brazil has 11 medals, followed by the United States with 10, Argentina, Norway and Switzerland with two each and with one men’s medal each are Canada, Italy, Poland and Spain.

After 11 FIVB World Tour women’s events held in the United States through 2014, Brazil leads the medal parade with 15 medals followed by USA with 13, Australia with three and with one women’s medal each are Germany and the Slovak Republic.

Long Beach is one of nine U.S. cities that have hosted an international FIVB beach volleyball event. Others have been Atlanta, Carson, Calif., Chicago, Clearwater, Fla., Hermosa Beach, Calif., Los Angeles, Miami and New York. The event in Atlanta was the 1996 Olympic Games, the first at which beach volleyball was a medal sport.

The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 2015 calendar will include five FIVB Grand Slams, a new FIVB Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series of three events, six FIVB Opens and a special FIVB Swatch Beach Volleyball Season Final in the United States.

The showcase event will be the $1 million FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships The Netherlands 2015.

A total of 14 countries will host events this year as the 2015 FIVB World Tour also begins the Olympic qualification process with all FIVB World Tour events (except the World Tour Finals) in 2015 up until June 13, 2016 counting towards the Olympic Ranking in order to determine the 15 vacancies for each gender that will take part in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The 2015 FIVB World Ranking system will again include FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam and Open events along with additional pre-approved events at the inter-continental, continental and national levels.

Implemented in 2013, the format of all the FIVB Beach Volleyball international tournaments – whether FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam or FIVB Beach Volleyball Open – are the same, featuring pool play followed by single elimination knockout rounds.

The 2014-2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Continental Cup also returns this year as it starts its portion of the qualification process for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.

Long Beach is a city situated in Los Angeles County in Southern California, on the Pacific coast of the United States. The city is the 36th-largest city in the nation and the seventh-largest in California with its population of nearly 475,000.

The city is a dominant maritime center of the United States. The Port of Long Beach is the United States' second busiest container port and one of the world's largest shipping ports. The city also maintains a large oil industry with the substance being found both underground and offshore.