|Jake Gibb, left, and Taylor Crabb celebrate in Las Vegas|
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 3, 2019) – Three-time beach volleyball Olympian Jake Gibb has dealt with his share of adversity.
In 2018, more adversity came when he and partner Taylor Crabb found out the night before competing in the FIVB World Tour five-star event in Gstaad, Switzerland that they would have to play in the qualifier of the next event, the five-star in Vienna.
“That was a huge challenge,” said Gibb, 42. “But we responded nicely.”
The day after finding out his team’s ranking had fallen, Gibb and Crabb, seeded 21st in Gstaad, upset Italy’s No. 12 Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai in the main draw. The day after that, they beat their U.S. teammates Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, seeded fifth.
For his success and perseverance, Gibb has been named the USAV Male Beach Player of the Year. He was also named USAV Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013.
Gibb and Crabb went on to finish fourth in Gstaad and fifth in Vienna and are now the top-ranked U.S. men’s team on the tour and 11th overall.
Domestically, Gibb and Crabb won AVP Tour events in Seattle and Chicago. In Manhattan
Beach and New York, they lost close matches to Dalhausser and Lucena in the finals.
They also won King of the Court events in Waikiki and Huntington Beach.
Gibb points to Gstaad as a highlight of his season, but also a heartbreaker. In the semifinals, Gibb and Crabb lost a battle to Norway’s Anders Mol and Christian Sorum, 17-21, 23-21, 16-14. At the time, Mol and Sorum were seeded 15th. The pair is now ranked No. 1 in the world thanks to a roll of wins at the end of the year.
Gibb called the semifinal a “crazy match.
“At 14-13 in the third set, Taylor hit a great cut shot off a terrible set by me to win the match and Christian made an amazing play with a dig and put-away,” he said.
“They went on to win the match and the next five tournaments.”
Gibb described 2018 as “a good year, but we definitely have some room for improvement, particularly in serving.”
It was a good year for Gibb off the court as well, as he got his masters in the science of education from the Keller Graduate School.
“I started back in graduate school two years ago and will finish this month,” Gibb said in December. “It was a lot harder than I expected, but worth it.”
He finished the year with his family, including wife Jane and children Cora and Crosby, on a trip to New Zealand.
Gibb and Crabb are planning for a busy 2019, both domestically and internationally. Gibb said the team is looking toward the FIVB World Championships in Hamburg and trying not to think too much about qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
“Our coach, Rich Lambourne, has us focusing on the World Championships right now, which is just how I like it,” Gibb Said. “The Olympic s are too far out to worry about as athletes. It’s such a fun journey to go on with Taylor, though. I can’t wait for the next two years.”