Volleyball lost another great player this month as long-time German beach volleyball standout and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jonas Reckermann retired from the sport. Reckermann and his partner Julius Brink staged an incredible upset in London, beating favorites Emanuel and Alison of Brazil in the gold medal match to become the first European pair to win gold at the Olympics.
Brink and Reckermann won four of their first six events together and although they were amongst the top teams on the FIVB Tour, they did not win another event until the London Olympics. After an incredible run in which they beat Cunha & Ricardo of Brazil in the quarterfinal and Nummerdor & Schuil of the Netherlands in the semifinal, they finished off the Olympics with a 2-1 victory over Emanuel and Alison.
Reckermann started playing on the FIVB Tour back in 2001 and won his first tournaments in 2004. At only 33 years of age, and he and Brink might have expected at least a few more good years together after their Olympic success. But doctors told Brink that his back injury could lead to irreversible permanent damage if he continued to compete.
In the absence of Reckermann, Brink will team up with Sebastian Fuchs in the 2013 season and will join the many other new sets of pairs we will see for the first time when the season starts in a just a few short months.