The world of women’s pro beach volleyball is known for amazing athletes in peak condition, skimpy outfits, and more often than not, some very sexy ladies. Since 1996 when it became an official Olympic event, the popularity of the sport has steadily increased. It’s not only at the Olympics that it’s a hot ticket, around the world, the pro volleyball tour packs in big crowds and continues to draw large audiences on television, in part, due to the sex appeal inherent in the sport.
The standard uniform choices for women have at times been a sore spot for some competitors who feel that it makes people focus on the competitor’s bodies, and not their skills, as reported by the Times U.K. Claims were made that too high of a percentage of television camera angles focused on the chest region and buttocks, and that more modest uniforms should be in use. A few nations, primarily those with a high Islamic population, felt the uniforms were morally offensive. Despite criticism, the bikini is still the most popular form of uniform in women’s beach volleyball, and the sexiest.
Marta Menegatti of Italy is one of the top pro women’s volleyball players in the world. She is a brand ambassador for Adidas, Red Bull, and Mikasa. She began competing in 2006 and the age of 16 according to her FIVB stats page and competes in about a dozen events in each non-Olympic year. She began playing indoors but made the transition to the sand in 2009. She has not commented if she has her eyes on another Olympic run yet.
April Ross is a two-time U.S. Olympic medalist who has her eyes set on competing again in 2020 with her teammate Alix Klineman. Ross was already a name brand when she partnered with Kerry Walsh Jennings, whom she won a bronze with in the 2016 games. Ross replaced Misty May Treanor, one of the all-time greats and Walsh’s previous partner, but the pair never seemed to click on or off the court, according to NBC Sports.
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Canadian Olympian and pro-circuit tour powerhouse Heather Bansley has already set her sights on the 2020 Olympics and has been racking up an impressive record on the pro tour. She was an indoor player that moved to the sand as a way to get in some extra training during the summer, according to her Team Canada profile. She is an avid reader, loves playing board games while on the road touring, and every season she has a lucky bikini that she has to wear in every event possible.
Czech sensation Marketa Sluvoka is the most successful beach volleyball player in her nation’s history, per Beach Volleyball Space. She began playing indoors at the age of 10 but moved outdoors at 18. Since then she has been a top points earner almost every year of her career and has maintained that much of her success is due to her teammates, of which she has only had two for most of her career.
“My ‘teammate list’ is pretty short. I think having one partner for longer than a season has many pros. Every team needs time to develop a unity, a bond between the players, to get to know each other, to grow and develop to its potential. These things definitely take some time and you can’t expect to be on the top of your game after one season. Therefore, I’m definitely a bigger fan of long term partnerships.”
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Rounding out the list is Joana Heidrich, one of the best Swiss blockers ever and a top-ranked international player. She didn’t medal at the Rio Olympics, but she is planning on a run at the Olympics in 2020. That may not happen now that she is dealing with a slipped disc that has sidelined her for the remainder of the 2018 pro season, as reported by Beach Major Series. Heidrich is a brand ambassador for Nike, Swatch, Toyota, and Red Bull.
For anyone that loves beach volleyball, seeing some cool training clips, and is a fan of top athletes, these ladies are great to follow on Instagram. They keep their feeds current, and they even respond to their fans questions in some cases. As always, when contacting anyone online, be respectful and remember that with their busy schedules they don’t always have time to answer everyone personally.