Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb delivered an Olympic qualifier in grand style on Sunday.
Needing just one more FIVB beach volleyball tournament to become eligible for consideration for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Crabb and Gibb defeated a Dutch team that won a bronze medal at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and won the 2013 world championship.
Crabb and Gibb, who reached the championship match of an FIVB World Tour event for the first time together, defeated 19-time world tour medalists Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen, 21-16, 16-21, 15-12, in the men’s final of the FIVB 4-star tournament in Chetumal, Mexico.
Tied at 10-10 in the third and deciding set of the dramatic final, Crabb and Gibb scored five of the match’s final seven points for the victory.
The week in Mexico turned into a family memory for the Crabb brothers. While Taylor Crabb reached the top of an FIVB World Tour event for the first time, his brother Trevor won the bronze medal with partner Tri Bourne.
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The Trevor Crabb-Bourne and Taylor Crabb-Gibb teams are the top U.S. men’s squads in the Olympic rankings. Both are among the top 15 in the world, which is important for the U.S. because up to two Olympic quota spots can be obtained through top 15 rankings. The Olympic qualification period goes through June 14, 2020.
Gibb, a three-time Olympian, and Taylor Crabb won for the first time together on the world tour but also won their second consecutive tournament for the first time. They teamed up in October to win a NORCECA tournament in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic, moving them up in the Olympic rankings.
Trevor Crabb and Bourne defeated Alexander Walkenhorst and Sven Winter of Germany, 21-16, 21-12, in the bronze medal match. They had lost to Brouwer and Meeuwsen in the semifinal round on Saturday.
The finish was the best for Trevor Crabb and Bourne on the world tour since winning a 3-star tournament more than a year ago in Qinzhou, China.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic and Paralympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.