Pedro

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Brazil beach volleyball shakeup breaks up world champions

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Olympic champions Alison and Bruno‘s breakup was quickly felt throughout the top level of Brazilian beach volleyball. The 2017 World champions are no longer a pair as a result.

Alison, the 6-foot-8 blocker nicknamed “Woolly Mammoth” with a matching rib tattoo, will now partner with Andre, a 2017 World champion with Evandro.

Bruno, a 6-foot-1 defensive standout known as the “Magician,” will play with former partner Pedro. Pedro and Evandro made up the other Brazilian team at the Rio Olympics, getting eliminated in the quarterfinals and then breaking up at the end of 2016 as Evandro began playing with Andre.

Andre and Evandro’s announced breakup came days after they won the most recent FIVB World Tour event in Itapema, Brazil, without dropping a set in six matches.

“I’m very frustrated with [Andre’s] decision,” Evandro said, according to an FIVB translation of a Globo story, “but it happened, and I need to move forward.”

Evandro will be reunited with Vitor Felipe, according to the FIVB. Abrupt changes in Brazilian partnerships, sometimes with federation involvement, are common.

The biggest rival to the top Brazilian pairs the last two seasons has been the U.S. team of 2008 Olympic champion Phil Dalhausser and his 2016 Olympic partner, Nick Lucena.

Dalhausser and Lucena won the first of three majors this season in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in March. They also won the last major of the 2017 season as well as the World Tour Finals, beating Andre and Evandro in the latter final.

The next major tournament this season is in Gstaad, Switzerland, in July. There are no world championships in even-numbered years.

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MORE: April Ross finds new partner for Tokyo 2020 Olympic run

Brazil leaves beach volleyball legends off Olympic team

Ricardo, Emanuel
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Brazilian beach volleyball partners Ricardo and Emanuel, who combined to earn medals at each of the last four Olympics, together or separately, were left off the nation’s Olympic team Wednesday.

Brazil’s volleyball federation named its complete Olympic beach volleyball team, the already qualified Larissa and Talita and Alison and Bruno, and Agatha and Barbara and Evandro and Pedro.

The team announcement was no surprise. Agatha and Barbara won the World Championship in July. Evandro and Pedro were the only Brazilian men’s pair other than World champions Alison and Bruno to make an FIVB World Tour final this season.

Ricardo, 40, and Emanuel, 42, reunited last summer and made zero FIVB World Tour semifinals this season. Emanuel owns more international victories than any other man or woman.

Ricardo and Ze Marco won silver at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Ricardo and Emanuel won Brazil’s last Olympic beach volleyball title at Athens 2004 and bronze at Beijing 2008.

At London 2012, Emanuel and Alison took Olympic bronze.

Ricardo and Emanuel are reserves in case Alison and Bruno or Evandro and Pedro can’t play at Rio 2016.

Brazil may go into the Rio Olympics with gold-medal favorites in both men’s and women’s beach volleyball.

Larissa and Talita and Alison and Bruno lead the FIVB World Tour in wins this season.

Larissa and Talita beat three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings and Olympic silver medalist April Ross in the World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach, Calif., in August, though Walsh Jennings played that tournament with a right shoulder injury that required surgery.

MORE BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Kerri Walsh Jennings out until March