USA Volleyball Features Fun fast facts Rio 2...

Fun fast facts Rio 2016 beach volleyball

By Corinne Calabro | Aug. 05, 2016, 12:21 a.m. (ET)

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Opening ceremonies is August 5 and the U.S. Olympic Beach Volleyball Team will begin the 2016 Olympics on Saturday at Copacabana Beach.

The biggest names in the sport are on hand as current stars ready to begin play and Olympians from prior Games join the contingent as experts on the sidelines and in the broadcasting booths.

U.S. BEACH NEWS | USA AT THE OLYMPICS | 2016 U.S. OLYMPIC BEACH VOLLEYBALL TEAM

Below is information to catch you up on beach volleyball at the Rio Olympics before Saturday's first serve of the Games. Women's action goes from Aug. 6-17 and the men Aug. 6-18. Pool play begins on Saturday and concludes on Aug. 11.

  • The U.S. Olympic Beach Volleyball Team is comprised of four athletes from California, three from Florida and one from Utah. Of those, three went to Pac-12 schools, three to schools in Florida and two in the state of Utah
  • It is the first Olympic Games for each current U.S. Olympian to play on a natural beach. The last Olympics to feature a natural beach was Sydney in 2000. Walsh Jennings was then at her first Olympic Games, with the women's indoor team that placed fourth
  • There are 16 countries in the men's field, 17 in the women's and a total of 22 different countries playing in the 2016 Games
  • All four pairs are new to the quad. They are no longer considered "new teams" or "new partners." Each pair teamed in the quad and went through a grueling qualification season that began in February 2015. The most recent pairing was Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, who teamed up for this Olympics in August of 2015
  • Twenty-four two-person teams play, per gender. Of the 96 athletes in the beach competition in 2016, only two have gold medals: USA's Kerri Walsh Jennings and Phil Dalhausser
  • Three athletes at the 2016 Olympics have silver medals, including USA's April Ross
  • USA's Jake Gibb and Kerri Walsh Jennings are the oldest players in their respective genders at the Olympics in beach volleyball. Gibb is 40 and Walsh Jennings is 37, soon to be 38 on Aug. 15
  • Four countries qualified the maximum number of teams allowed, four: Brazil, Canada, Netherlands and United States
  • Kerri Walsh Jennings is one of two players in 2016 that is a four-time Olympian on the beach. The other is Spain's Pablo Herrera. Walsh Jennings is at her fifth Olympics, having begun on the indoor side
  • The team is split between Olympic newcomers and veterans. Phil Dalhausser and Jake Gibb are at their third Olympics, respectively, April Ross her second and Kerri Walsh Jennings her fifth. Lauren Fendrick, Brooke Sweat, Casey Patterson and Nick Lucena are making their debut
  • Against the Olympic field, Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross are a staggering 60-17
  • The U.S. has won gold at every Olympic beach showing, men or women, since the sports inception in 1996
  • USA has won three of the five gold medals in the sports history, for both men and women
  • If Kerri Walsh Jennings wins gold, she'll be the third American to win four gold in one event for a team sport. Tamika Catchings of USA Basketball is going for the same record, but the women's beach volleyball gold medal match ends before basketball's at the 2016 Games
  • A medal of any color would make Kerri Walsh Jennings the most decorated Olympian all-time in beach volleyball, for either gender. She currently shares that stat with Misty May-Treanor
  • The U.S. also has a referee at the Olympics. Dan Apol is the sole American referee on the staff of 16 in beach volleyball
  • Russia is in and Italy is out. While the world watches Russia go through major changes to their Rio plans, an unexpected expulsion happened on the beach. Italy's Viktoria Orsi Toth was banned due to a failed drug test, testing positive for clostebol metabolite. Italy brought in Laura Giombini to play with Marta Menegatti