BEACH VOLLEYBALL — Targeting Tokyo 2020
2016 Olympic Games – Ninth Place
2016 FIVB World Tour Finals, Toronto – Fourth Place
2016 FIVB Major Series, Klagenfurt – Bronze Medalist
2016 FIVB Major Series, Porec – Bronze Medalist
2015 FIVB Grand Slam, Yokohoma – Silver Medalist
2015 FIVB Major Series, Olsztyn – Bronze Medalist
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After a breakout season on the FIVB World Tour in 2013 including an impressive 5th place finish at the World Championships – the best result ever for Canada – the beach volleyball team of Ben Saxton and Chaim (pronounced KAME) Schalk have moved from young upstarts to legitimate contenders.
With a rare combination of size and speed, Saxton and Schalk added 5 top 10 finishes in the FIVB World Tour and began to focus on more ambitious goals as team – qualifying for Rio 2016 and fighting for a place on the Olympic podium.
They backed up their first season's success with a 2014 NORCECA Championships win over American rivals Gibb and Patterson.
Then, in 2015, another breakthrough.
First with a silver in the Grand Slam in Japan, where they defeated the World Champs from The Netherlands in the semi-final to play world number-one ranked Brazil.
A second podium in Poland secured their place among the world’s best teams and, more importantly, gave them the competition confidence needed to beat the world’s best.
When the sport returned to its birthplace in Copacabana Beach for Rio 2016, Ben and Chaim found themselves in "the pool of death" with Latvia, Brazil and the upstart Cubans.
After an opening loss to world-number-one ranked Latvia, the boys needed a win against Brazil for a chance to advance to the playoffs.
In one of the most thrilling matches of the Olympics, in front of a soldout crowd, they blocked and banged their way to a three-set (17-21, 21-18, 16-14) win and gave the world an even more memorable moment with the now-famous "Canadian Chest Bump" that never quite happened.
With a playoff berth and a solid ninth place finish at the Olympics, the future looks bright for Team Saxton/Schalk.
When the FIVB World Tour Finals made its way to Toronto, Ben and Chaim had a unique opportunity to play in front of a Canadian crowd on home sand for the first time in their careers against the Top-12 qualified teams.
With a huge quarter-final win over the Olympic silver medalists from The Netherlands and an eventual fourth place finish in front of a packed-house at Polson Pier they made the most of the opportunity – endearing themselves to the fans with all of the heart and hustle they showed in Rio 2016.
With the FIVB World Tour Finals scheduled to return to Toronto in 2017, they'll look to make a move up the podium and continue to grow as a team leading into Tokyo 2020.