New Year, New Goals: USA


Several American duos, returning Olympic medalist Alix Klineman among them, delivered excellent performances last year. Many of them only teamed up last year and we're excited to see where the road takes them in 2024.

New teams on Center Court

An interesting new women’s duo emerged last year when two teams, Stockman/Kraft and Cannon/Sponcil, parted ways. While Sarah Sponcil switched to indoor volleyball, Emily Stockman retired from the sport altogether. Consequently, the new duo Cannon/Kraft debuted at the Paris Elite16 last fall and has already left an impression late in the 2023 season. Besides a top-ten spot at the World Championships in Tlaxcala, they also made fifth place in Nuvali and claimed a gold medal at the NORCECA Beach Tour Finals.

Another team that debuted in Paris was 2020 Olympic gold medalist Alix Klineman and her new partner Hailey Harward. Klineman had taken a break following shoulder surgery in 2022 and the birth of her child, but six weeks after giving birth she was already back training on the sand. Her former partner, April Ross, is currently taking a baby break herself. With Harward, Klineman won a wildcard place at the World Championships in Mexico. However, a return to the Olympic Games is rather unlikely for Klineman this year - there is too much catching up to do for the fresh duo to overtake their compatriots at the top of the world rankings.

American beach stars in Olympic fever

Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth, currently ranked second in the world ranking, are one of the teams we will most definitely keep an eye on in the coming season. The duo started its journey together at a Futures event in 2022 and has since then taken home an impressive amount of medals from international events, including gold in La Paz, Uberlandia and the BPT Finals in Doha, silver in Hamburg, and bronze in Gstaad and at the World Championships in Tlaxcala in the 2023 season alone. These successes not only catapulted them far ahead in the world ranking, but also in the race for a spot at the Paris Olympics this summer.

Just behind them at at third place in the world ranking are Sara Hughes and Kelly Cheng, whose triumph at the World Championships last year already earned them a spot in Paris. Their other successes of the last year include a gold medal in Tepic, silver in Gstaad, and top-ten spots in Ostrava, Montréal, and Hamburg. While Cheng already competed in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 with former partner Sarah Sponcil, finishing ninth, it will be Hughes’ first competing at the Olympic Games.

In the men’s competition, Partain/Benesh also stand a good chance of a spot in the Olympics.The two began their partnership at the end of 2022 and are now one of the top teams to keep an eye on in the 2024 beach season, claiming gold in Gstaad, silver in Montreal, bronze in Ostrava and at the NORCECA Beach Tour Finals, as well as top ten spots in Hamburg, Paris, the BPT Finals and even fifth place at the World Championships. Rightfully, they currently share the #3 spot in the world ranking with Czech top duo and reigning world champions Perušič/Schweiner.

Trevor Crabb and Theo Brunner are another promising duo who only began their partnership last year. With gold medals in Espinho and Chicago, a silver medal in Haikou and a fourth place at the World Championships, they boast an impressive record. We can't wait to continue following this outstanding team in the 2024 season.