Jamie Broder Olympic hopeful

May 22nd, 2016

The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics drew more sharply into view Sunday for beach volleyball player Jamie Broder .

People don’t normally associate Ohio with sand. But the fifth-place finish by Victoria’s Broder and Toronto’s Kristina Valjas at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Cincinnati Open virtually assured the pair qualification for the Rio Olympics.

The Olympic qualifying period ends following the Moscow Grand Slam starting Wednesday and the Hamburg Open in Germany from June 7-12.

Valjas and Broder hold down 11th place in FIVB Olympic qualifying points, with the top-16 advancing to Rio. It is highly unlikely Broder and Valjas will fall out of the top-16 with only two tournaments remaining. Copacabana Beach never felt nearer. So much so that Broder was chosen by the Canadian Olympic Committee as one of the athletes to model the Rio 2016 uniforms when the Canadian team kit was unveiled last month.

In indoor volleyball, the 30-year-old Broder went from a standout high school career with the Claremont Spartans to starring on the Vancouver Island University Mariners before winning two CIS championships with the UBC Thunderbirds.

Canada will have two women’s beach volleyball duos in Rio. Joining Broder and Valjas will be Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., and Heather Bansley of Waterdown, Ont., who are currently in fifth place in the Olympic qualifying standings.