International Volleyball

Are Tri and Chaim out of the Olympic race? New AVP partnerships?

Are Tri and Chaim out of the Olympic race? New AVP partnerships?

HERMOSA BEACH, California — It wasn’t hard to guess the subject of this month’s SANDCAST mailbag: After withdrawing from the Xiamen Challenge and Brasilia Elite16, Have Tri Bourne and Chaim Schalk dropped out of the race to the Paris Olympic Games?

No less than a dozen individuals asked various versions of that question, one I’ll allow Bourne to answer himself:

“We are pulling out of the Olympic race. We basically got far enough back in it, and it was a grind, I don’t know what it looked like from the outside but it’s been an uphill battle the whole time. The stress of it, that’s all part of the package, all teams are dealing with it, but also health stuff, not being able to put the package together on the court, the travel, stuff we got going on in our personal lives, and we got far enough back in the race where we’re still in it but we’d have to break through these qualifiers, go to every event and win at least two Elites which we hadn’t been performing to that level over the last year and a half. We didn’t want to grind out another two months which seems like risking our health further, traveling, grinding, banging our heads against the wall to not get the berth. So we said ‘You know what, we’re going to cut our losses here and move on with our lives and reevaluate.’ It sucks but that’s what happens when you bite off a big challenge.”

Bourne and Schalk, Olympians both already, will not be Olympians in 2024. Which prompted out next glut of questions: Who will be?

What is the likelihood of Chase Budinger and Miles Evans beating Trevor Crabb and Theo Brunner out for the Olympics?

At the time this question was asked, the likelihood was mostly a toss-up, and still is. This question came in prior to the Brasilia Elite16, with Budinger and Evans trailing by an even 400 points. But the deficit was deceiving, and every American in the race knew it. In a week, Budinger and Evans will be competing at the NORCECA Continental Finals, an event with Challenge points but hardly any competition. Barring something extraordinary, they’ll finish a minimum — and this is a bare minimum — of fourth. It’s mostly a contest between Budinger and Evans, Canada’s Sam Schachter and Dan Dearing, and Cuba’s Jorge Alayo and Noslen Diaz. Mexico’s Miguel Sarabia and Gabriel Cruz are a distant fourth. So with that factored in prior to Brasilia, Crabb and Brunner held onto a narrow lead.

That lead is now gone.

Budinger and Evans’ fifth in…

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