2021 Tokyo Olympic Update: Cancun Hub Event Recap

What a ride. 


I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. Three tournaments, 18 days of competition, 289,153 tacos consumed inside the Bubble. But those aren’t the numbers we’re worried about (though admittedly, that amount of tacos is worrying). You’re here for the Olympic Race numbers, and they are JUICY

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, I have to highlight a few pretty epic moments in this third and final Cancun Hub Event.


  • Team USA earned both Bronze Medals!
    • Dalhausser/Lucena seemingly breezed through most of this tournament, winning every match in two sets and only struggling against the highly physical and dynamic Qataris in the Semifinals
    • After Ross/Klineman uncharacteristically lost their first match, they then beat some teams down on their way to a Bronze Medal. Their game against Walsh-Jennings/Sweat was so wild. The A-Team took the first set, 21-8, and then got down in the second, 14-8. Viewers expected a tale of two sets ending in a decisive third, but the A-Team went on a 13-3 run and took the second 21-17. It was one of the craziest comebacks I’ve ever seen. 


Okay, now about those numbers. 



Four-Star Points 
17th = 320
9th = 400
5th = 480
4th = 560
3rd = 640
2nd = 720
1st = 800


Olympic Standings Before Cancun 3rd Event 


April Ross/Alix Klineman – 9240 

Kerri Walsh-Jennings/Brooke Sweat – 6960 

Sarah Sponcil/Kelly Claes – 6800

Kelley Kolinske/Emily Stockman – 6360


Cancun 3rd Event Finishes


April Ross/Alix Klineman –3rd Place – 640 points

Kerri Walsh-Jennings/Brooke Sweat – 9th Place – 400 points

Sarah Sponcil/Kelly Claes – 5th Place – 480 points

Kelley Kolinske/Emily Stockman –  9th Place – 400 points 


Olympic Standings After Cancun 3rd Event 


April Ross/Alix Klineman – 9400 (+160 points)

Kerri Walsh-Jennings/Brooke Sweat – 6960 (no change)

Sarah Sponcil/Kelly Claes – 6800 (no change)

Kelley Kolinske/Emily Stockman – 6360 (no change)


Overall Point Increase at the Three Cancun Hub Events


April Ross/Alix Klineman: +320 points

Kerri Walsh-Jennings/Brooke Sweat: +0 points

Sarah Sponcil/Kelly Claes: +80 points

Kelley Kolinske/Emily Stockman: +40 points



Points to drop: 560

Finish needed to increase OR: 3rd



Points to drop: 480

Finish needed to increase OR: 4th



Points to drop: 480

Finish needed to increase OR: 4th 



Points to drop: 400

Finish needed to increase OR: 5th


Not a lot changed in OR for the ladies between the 2nd and 3rd events. April and Alix extended their lead, which at this point only affects their seeding in the Tokyo Summer Games. They’re back at the top of the OR, overtaking their Canadian AVP counterparts by 80 points when they beat them in the Bronze Medal match. 

While the other three teams didn’t increase their OR, one very significant thing happened. Sponcil/Claes finished well enough in Cancun to secure their spot in the Main Draws of both Sochi and Ostrava, pushing Walsh-Jennings/Sweat into the Country Quota and Qualifier. That’s so huge for Team Slaes; they’re only 160 points away from the vets, and now they’ve saved themselves two days of matches and, more importantly, the potential of not making the Main Draw at all. 

Both teams have to get 4th or better from now on to improve their OR. Here are the Sochi scenarios for that all-important second and final USA Women’s Olympic spot: 


For a tie:

Sponcil/Claes get 3rd/2nd/1st

Walsh-Jennings/Sweat get 5th/4th/3rd


For a change:

Sponcil/Claes get 2nd/1st

Walsh-Jennings/Sweat get 5th/4th

Stockman/Kolinske are safely in the Main Draw, but their path to Tokyo is a narrow one. They need two podium finishes in the final two events. They’re 600 points off the second spot, and the max they can gain in one tournament is 400 points. If Walsh-Jennings/Sweat and Sponcil/Claes don’t increase their OR in either event, here are the minimum Sochi and Ostrava finishes Stockman/Kolinske need to book their ticket to the Olympics:


1st and 3rd

2nd and 2nd


Tall order, but not insurmountable. Remember – this duo just earned 4th place in March’s Doha tourney, so they’re more than capable of greatness. 




Olympic Standings Before Cancun 3rd Event


Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb – 7040 

Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena – 6720

Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb – 6480


Cancun 3rd Event Finishes 


Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb – 9th Place – 400 points

Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena – 3rd Place – 640 points

Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb – 5th Place – 480 points 


Olympic Standings After Cancun 3rd Event


Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb – 7040 (no change)

Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena – 7040 (+320 points)

Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb – 6600 (+120 points) 


Overall Point Increase at the Three Cancun Hub Events


Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb: +40 points

Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena: +640 points

Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb: +240 points



Gibb/Crabb, Dalhausser/Lucena, Bourne/Crabb

Points to drop: 400

Finish needed to increase OR: 5th


What are the odds that our top two teams would be tied? As cool as that is, their point difference (or lack thereof) doesn’t matter much right now. If the Olympics happened today, Gibb/Crabb and Dalhausser/Lucena would be the 9th and 10th seeds in Tokyo. Interestingly (and also a major bummer), Bourne/Crabb would be the highest Olympic Ranked team in the world that would not qualify for Tokyo because of the maximum of two teams per country. However, despite Phil and Nick’s strong performance throughout Cancun, the Hawaiians aren’t out of this thing.

Bourne/Crabb are 440 points behind both Gibb/Crabb and Dalhausser/Lucena. Each team has multiple 400-point finishes to drop. So in the last two tournaments, the only way for any of them to increase their Olympic Ranking is to get 5th place or better. In all the craziness of the numbers (I know, it’s A LOT of math), the boys have been nice enough to make it straightforward for these last two events. For all three teams, here’s how their OR would increase with a good finish:


5th: +80 points

4th: +160 points

3rd: +240 points

2nd: +320 points

1st: +400 points


For Gibb/Crabb and Dalhausser/Lucena, increasing their OR in either event would make it extremely difficult for Bourne/Crabb to knock them out of Qualifying position. Since Bourne/Crabb are 440 points behind, they must increase their OR in both Sochi and Ostrava to have a chance at Tokyo. It’s a big ask, but it can be done. If Gibb/Crabb or Dalhausser/Lucena do not finish 5th or better in either event, here are three examples of how Bourne/Crabb could finish in Sochi and Ostrava to grab a spot at the Olympics: 


1st and 5th

2nd and 4th

3rd and 3rd

That’s right – the Hawaiians need to at least make it to a final or get two Bronze Medals without one of the teams above them increasing their OR. I am for sure not counting them out, and I would looooove to see a big showing in Sochi to make it all come down to the final tournament in Ostrava.

Like Sponcil/Claes, Bourne/Crabb have solidified their spot in the Main Draw for Sochi and Ostrava, as their Entry Ranking will likely make them a 15 or 16 seed in those tournaments. No more Country Quota for these guys. That has to feel good. 

The final two Olympic Qualification tournaments are back-to-back, starting in Sochi, Russia the last week of May and ending in Ostrava, Czech Republic the first week of June. Once the last ball drops in Ostrava, we’ll know which four USA teams are headed to Tokyo. I can hardly wait.