Canada’s top female beach athletes are creating new powerful partnerships leading up to the Paris 2024 Olympic qualification period.
Olympians Brandie Wilkerson and Melissa Humana-Paredes (both of Toronto, ON) will team up, and two-time Olympian (2016, 2020) Sarah Pavan (Kitchener, ON) will partner with Sophie Bukovec (Toronto), current World silver medallist. The newly formed teams will compete on the Beach Pro Tour.
“We are thrilled to see these top athletes, who have worked so hard at the highest level and know what it takes to reach the podium, form new teams as the world looks ahead to Paris 2024,” said Volleyball Canada President and CEO Mark Eckert. “It will be very exciting to watch! Best of luck to both teams as they enter the qualification period for the Olympic Games.”
As was previously announced, after a successful run as a team Humana-Paredes and Pavan, who were World Champions in 2019 and represented Canada together in Tokyo, parted on a high note after winning gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in England this past summer.
Brandie, who finished fifth at the 2020 Tokyo Games with previous partner Heather Bansley, won silver with Bukovec at the 2022 Beach Volleyball World Championships. Brandie and Melissa both attended York University where they were teammates as developing indoor volleyball players more than a decade ago and have had success with other beach partners over the years.
Pavan was a stand-out indoor player at the University of Nebraska winning the 2006 NCAA Division I women’s volleyball title, among many other accomplishments, moving on to professional indoor teams and then full-time as a beach player. Bukovec won a national championship in 2015 (AVCA) and capped off her university playing career in beach volleyball at USC where she helped the team win the inaugural NCAA beach volleyball national championship in 2016, and again in 2017.
A maximum of two teams per gender from each National Federation may qualify for the Olympic Games. The beach volleyball “Olympic Ranking” qualification period for Paris 2024 begins on January 1, 2023 through to June 9, 2024 with the best 12 events as a team counted. As well, one team per gender qualifies as winners of the 2023 World Championship. Players that do not qualify through ranking have a chance as one of five Continental teams, and one team qualifies as the host nation (France).