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nd samba.Even on a royal pa

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    February 15, 2020 2:41 AM CST

    Sand, sun and samba.Even on a royal parade ground in the middle of staid London, the Olympic beach volleyball competition four years ago pulsated to the music of a DJ while dance teams jiggled during the breaks. When the Summer Games sexiest sport opens in Rio de Janeiro, the biggest competition for the party atmosphere inside the venue could come from the surrounding Copacabana Beach.Although the sport was invented in Southern California, its spiritual home could be the stretch of sand in Brazil where a temporary 12,000-seat stadium will welcome the worlds top players. Among the favorites are the hometown teams, including two Brazilian womens tandems that will try to stop American Kerri Walsh Jennings in her attempt at a fourth straight gold medal.Here are some things to look for from the Olympic beach volleyball venue on Copacabana Beach, where music and passion are always the fashion:HER NAME IS KERRIA three-time defending Olympic champion, Walsh Jennings will turn 38 during the Rio Games. Her road to a fifth Olympics -- she also went to Sydney with the American indoor volleyball team -- has been more of a struggle than years past because of a separated right shoulder that twice interrupted the path to qualification.Walsh Jennings says shes healthy now, and since returning from shoulder surgery she and partner April Ross have steadily moved up the rankings on the international tour. They will arrive in Rio as a No. 3 seed, behind the two Brazilian teams.AND WHILE SHE TRIED TO BE A STARWhen longtime partner Misty May-Treanor retired after the London Games, Walsh Jennings looked across the net to grab Ross off the team they beat in the gold medal match.Ross, 34, brings a little more youth to the partnership, but she still has Olympic experience. She was three-times voted the FIVB tours best server, and she has also earned top honors for her hitting and her offense.But there was also a problem in the new pairing: Both Ross and Walsh Jennings were accustomed to playing on the left side. Walsh Jennings volunteered to make the switch.AT THE COPABrazil is the most decorated nation in Olympic volleyball history, winning 11 of the 30 total medals since the sport was added to the Summer Games program in 1996. (The United States has nine.)But the Brazilians have only claimed two golds -- one each in mens and womens -- despite dominating the international tours that determine Olympic qualification. (The U.S. has six of a possible 10.)This year, the defending womens world champions Agatha and Barbara were second in the rankings only to the pairing of 2012 bronze medalist Larissa and 2008 fourth-place finisher Talita. On the mens side, Alison and Bruno bring a No. 1 seed and a world championship to their hometown, while fourth-ranked Pedro and Evandro could use the home-town advantage to step onto the medal podium.THEY WERE YOUNG AND THEY HAD EACH OTHERWalsh Jennings and Ross arent the only Americans with new partners.Two-time Olympian Jake Gibb is back, this time with newcomer Casey Patterson. And Phil Dalhausser, who won gold in Beijing and finished ninth in London with Todd Rogers, is paired up with Olympic rookie Nick Lucena.The only tandem of first-timers is the second U.S. womens team, with Brooke Sweat and Lauren Fendrick making their Olympic debut.THEY USED TO HAVE A SHOWDefending mens champions Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann of Germany wont be back.Reckermann retired five months after the London Games due to back and shoulder injuries. Brink teamed up briefly with former training partner Sebastian Fuchs before calling it quits.Also sitting this one out: Five-time Olympian and three-time medalist (one of each) Emanuel, who won silver in London with Alison.It will be the first time there will be an Olympic beach volleyball tournament without him.---Follow Jimmy Golen on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/jgolen . Vapormax Plus Triple Black Cheap., for the next three years with the signings on Monday of Daryl Townsend and Michael Carter. Vapormax 97 Black Cheap. -- PGA TOUR Canada member Steve Saunders took a three-stroke lead Saturday in the Web. http://www.vapormaxcheapoutlet.com/clearance-vapormax-97/vapormax-97-silver-bullet.html. Numbers Game examines the deal that sees Michael Del Zotto and Kevin Klein switch places. The Predators Get: D Michael Del Zotto. Vapormax All White Cheap. DAmigo scored twice in regulation and added the shootout winner as the Toronto Marlies edged the San Antonio Rampage 5-4 in American Hockey League action. Vapormax 2019 Throwback Future. Hazard cut in from the left and scored with a swerving right-footed shot for ninth goal of the season, which proved to be enough for the victory despite Chelseas forwards again lacking a cutting edge up front. TAMPA, Fla. -- Thanks to the steady progress of Jameis Winston, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are back in the thick of the race for a playoff berth.The teams 19-17 road upset of the Kansas City Chiefs lifted the Bucs (5-5) back to .500, one game behind the NFC South-leading Atlanta Falcons with six weeks remaining in the regular season.Tampa Bay hasnt made the playoffs since 2007. Sundays victory was a confidence booster heading into a stretch run thatll feature home games against Seattle, New Orleans and Carolina and road tests against San Diego, Dallas and the Saints.Were just jelling, coming together one game at a time, safety Bradley McDougald said.Winston played one of the best games of his young career, topping 300 yards passing in consecutive games for the first time and not throwing an interception.The Bucs converted 68.7 percent of their third-down opportunities, with the second-year quarterback going 12 of 14 for 133 yards and one touchdown on third downs.The defense has played better in victories over Chicago and Kansas City the past two weeks after allowing 1,087 yards, including 857 passing, during losses to Oakland and Atlanta within a five-day span.Every week is a different week, said safety Chris Conte, who returned an interception for a touchdown against the Bears.He then earned a game ball against the Chiefs with an end zone interception that cost Kansas City -- trailing 12-10 at the time -- a chance to take a fourth-quarter lead.You know weve got another big challenge next week. Weve just got to keep on working, Connte added, looking ahead to the Seahawks (7-2-1) on Sunday.ddddddddddddhenever you win, its huge. I think we played a relatively clean game on defense, with the exception of a couple of big plays. Were getting better each week.Winston completed third-down throws to six receivers, including Alan Cross, an undrafted rookie tight end who had one career reception before scoring Tampa Bays only TD on a 3-yard catch in the fourth quarter.We talk about role playing all the time, play your role, understand your role can change at any second, coach Dirk Koetter said. These last two games, weve been doing a really good job as a football team of playing our roles. The coaches putting them in positions to play them, some guys roles have expanded, some guys have diminished roles.Receiver Cecil Shorts III is one of the players who has seen his role grow as the season progresses. The sixth-year pro didnt sign with Tampa Bay until the week of the opener, and he had his most productive game since arriving with five receptions for 62 yards against the Chiefs.Good teams find ways to win in November and December. I think were hitting our stride at the right time, Shorts said. Were finally getting our timing down. Were executing very well on third down. We got Doug (Martin) back at a crucial time of the year. Things are looking good for us.---For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Wholesale Jerseys ' ' '