If you have ever spent a day at the beach, you know that one of the most annoying consequences that comes along with it is sand — everywhere. The tiniest bit of perspiration or ocean water seems to make sand stick to every pore on your skin, and the only way to get it off is to wait until you dry completely or jump in the water. Waiting until you dry can be incredibly tedious, and if you jump in the water it’s just going to happen again. So how do beach volleyball players learn to deal with it during competition?
They don’t. Believe it or not, the type of sand that is used in Olympic competition is regulated by the International Volleyball Federation and is designed to be stick-free. There are no stones or pebbles mixed in with the sand like there is at your average beach. It’s also the perfect balance of not too coarse nor fine so that it won’t stick to the players’ bodies.
“This sand is fabulous,” Kerri Walsh Jennings said in Beijing back in 2008 according to Reuters. “It’s so soft it tickles your feet.”
No wonder Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor decided to stick with these outfits despite the change in rules. I don’t know about you, but knowing this about Olympic sand gives me an entirely new perspective on watching beach volleyball. The only thing stopping me from wanting to pursue it as a career is that sand sticking t0 my body drives me insane — no matter what the situation. Had I known the sand is designed not to stick, it would have been me replacing Todd Rodgers as Phil Dalhausser’s partner at the Brazil Olympics in 2016. No, seriously…