The next beach volleyball world championships will be postponed one year to 2022, adding to the list of major sporting events affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FIVB announced the move Thursday in light of the bigger move, which was the International Olympic Committee’s decision last month to move the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 back one year.
The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships will now be held in June 2022, and the event will remain in Rome as originally planned.
In a statement, FIVB President Ary S. Graça called the postponement “the best solution” following the Tokyo decision.
“Rome hosted a very successful FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in 2011, and we are extremely proud to bring this prestigious tournament back to the country,” Graça said. “We may have to wait a little longer now to crown our new beach volleyball world champions, but it will undoubtedly be worth it when we witness the greatest players go head to head in 2022.”
Held every odd year since 1997, the beach volleyball world championships has traditionally been a showcase event for U.S. athletes, particularly the women. In the 12 previous tournaments, U.S. women have medaled 11 times, including winning four straight gold medals from 2003 to 2009. U.S. men have medaled five times and won once.
At the most recent event in 2019 in Hamburg, Germany, Americans Alix Klineman and April Ross won the silver medal, while on the men's side Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb finished fourth.
Beach volleyball so far joins track and field, which also has a biennial world championship, in moving its marquee event from 2021 to 2022. Countless other events have been suspended, postponed or canceled in the meantime.