Tokyo Games the end line for American veteran Gibb


HUNTINGTON BEACH, USA, June 1, 2020 – Jake Gibb has been playing beach volleyball for the last 20 years and after two decades of intense dedication to the sport and countless trips around the world, the 44-year-old American has made a decision: he will end his career in 2021.


The veteran blocker had initially planned to make 2020 his farewell season, but with the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to 2021, he has decided to keep going for another year as he and partner Taylor Crabb remain in contention for a spot in the next edition of the Games.


And he's certainly not sad about extending his career for another year.


“I have a fixed date, I’m done after 2021,” he revealed in an interview to American website VolleyballMag. “I was going to be done after this year, but now I’m going to play one more year. I can’t just leave Taylor high and dry. And I get to play in the sport I love for one more year.”


The postponement of the Olympics was caused due to the coronavirus pandemic, the same reason that forced Gibb and Crabb to stay home during what was arguably the best moment of their partnership, which was formed in 2017.


Before the break, the Americans had secured top-10 finishes in ten of their last 12 FIVB World Tour events and had won their first gold medal as a team at the four-star tournament in Chetumal, Mexico, in November, when Gibb became the oldest player to top the podium in an international event.


“It’s a bummer to take a break when you feel you’re peaking as a partnership,” he added. “I think we played good volleyball all year, we just weren’t getting the finishes, losing some heartbreak matches. I knew it was in us, and we had been playing well, but it’s nice to see the finishes represent how you think you’re playing. At the end of last season I didn’t want that to end, we were grooving, and I felt like we started this year really well as a team.”


There is, however, the counterpoint that Gibb’s body could probably use a break in the year that precedes the last and potentially most important season of his long career.


If, however, that includes not playing beach volleyball, then there’s no real benefit from Gibb’s standpoint.


“I’ve heard from several people that it might be an advantage for me, not putting the mileage on my body,” he commented. “I feel great, but I miss playing volleyball. I like playing every week, so I don’t think there’s an advantage there. I really like just playing volleyball. I’d like nothing more than to have 20 tournaments a year and play almost every week.”



Currently ranked eighth in the provisional Olympic ranking with Crabb, Gibb is aiming for his fourth Olympic appearance next year in Tokyo. The blocker, who finished fifth with Sean Rosenthal at both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games and was 19th in Rio 2016 with Casey Patterson, could become the first American to play in four editions of the Games.


If he qualifies, Gibb, who will be 45 when the Olympic tournament starts next year, will become the oldest beach volleyball player to ever compete at the Games.


The potential records, however, don't carry the weight of another vital element of his life when it’s about bringing him motivation to be in Tokyo next summer, however.


“My family has always been my priority number one,” the veteran reflected. “Even my wife (Jane) now, she doesn’t want to miss any tournaments I’m playing in, because we both know that it’s going to be over pretty soon, and she just loves watching it and being a part of it as well. And interestingly enough, my son (Crosby) now loves watching my matches on TV. He’s 8 years old, but he knows enough. He kind of understands the game now, he really loves watching, and it’s been fun. That’s one of the biggest motivations for me to get to the next Olympics, to have my son see me play in an Olympics and actually understand that it’s pretty cool.”