Bountiful's Jake Gibb is home now in California and feeling "really excited and really relieved" to have finally officially become a member of the U.S. Olympic men's beach volleyball team that will play in Beijing next month.
Gibb said he and partner Sean Rosenthal "finished terribly" over the last week in the second-to-last Olympic-qualifying event, the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam, but they had gone into the event with a 980-point margin in Olympic qualifying.
Even though Gibb and Rosenthal earned only 160 points for placing 17th in Russia, "basically just time ran out" on the team trailing them, Matt Fuerbringer and Casey Jennings, said Gibb. Fuerbringer-Jennings finished ninth in Moscow.
There is one more Olympic qualifying event, but Fuerbringer and Jennings can't make up the 780-point lead Gibb and Rosenthal still have over them.
Gibb-Rosenthal has 3,540 points to Fuerbringer-Jennings' 2,560.
Reached by telephone Sunday, Gibb said he's pleased the qualifying is finished.
"It was a year and a half process where it's just been exhausting," he said. "There's been a long process with a lot of stuff to carry around with you, and it's really relieving to now get to focus and train and get ready for the Olympics."
The top U.S. team is Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers, who won the Moscow Grand Slam. They have won 21 straight World Tour matches.
Gibb, 32, is a University of Utah graduate who grew up in Bountiful, one of 11 children of Lawrence and Saundra Gibb. He attended Bountiful High School.
He joined the American Volleyball Professionals tour in 2000 and became a budding star in 2004 as the tour's most improved player. By 2005, he had joined Stein Metzger and became the AVP's top rookie as well as MVP as the team won the AVP tour.Metzger went to another partner last season, and Gibb hooked up with Rosenthal, and they placed fifth for the 2007 AVP tour. Gibb's career earnings are near $606,000.