Canada’s men’s beach volleyball team is back to square one.
The duo of Josh Binstock and Martin Reader, who qualified for the Olympics only a few weeks ago in Toronto, lost their second match of the Games in straight sets to Norway on Monday, falling to 1-1 after opening with a win over Great Britain.
The match lasted just 40 minutes, as Norway’s team of Tarjei Viken Skarlund and Martin Spinnangr built an early lead and won 21-14 and 21-18.
“We didn’t play the way we wanted to and found it difficult to play the ball,” Binstock said. “We get in trouble when we don’t take care of the ball on our side.”
Skarlund was overjoyed with the victory, as he was swept in the event four years ago in Beijing while playing with a different partner.
“We are now on fire,” Skarlund said. “All the nerves of the first game [a loss to Great Britain] have gone.”
Binstock and Reader remain very much alive in the tournament despite the loss. The top two teams in each of six pools advance along with four of the third place teams, which means a win over Brazil on Wednesday would almost certainly move them on.
“We played them before,” Binstock said. “We lost a tight one in three. So we know that they’re beatable. There’s no lack of confidence here after this.”
The 16 teams that make it out of the group stage, where every match is a must-win leading up to the gold and bronze medal games, will begin elimination play on Friday and Saturday.
Canada hasn’t qualified a men’s beach volleyball team since Mark Heese and John Child won a bronze in the event’s first games in Atlanta in 1996. That still stands as the only medal Canada has ever won in either volleyball discipline.