When talking about beach volleyball, it is impossible to not mention Emanuel Rego. Emanuel, arguably the best Men's Beach Volleyball Player of all time, has won every single trophy a beach volleyball can win, with over 150 first place finishes through his 20-year career. Emanuel's greatness is not only seen through his medals, but also through his consistency throughout the years. He participated in 5 different editions of the Olympic Games winning a gold medal, a silver medal, and a bronze medal. His last participation was in 2012, where he won the silver medal at the age of 38.
In addition to that, Emanuel also has 3 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship titles, including one played in Brazil, in front of his own nation. Although his numbers speak for themselves, Emanuel's behavior on the sand contributes to him being considered one of the best to ever play the sport. Emanuel was a very calm and analytical player, leading by leadership and gaining the respect of everyone in the beach volleyball world.
The most successful period of Emanuel's career was while partnering with another of Beach Volleyball greatests, Ricardo Santos. Together, the double won the Olympic Gold in Athens 2004, and have a 289-55 FIVB record in their time together. Ricardo and Emanuel are widely regarded as the best beach volleyball double ever. Besides Ricardo, Emanuel had other partners, and was successful with every single one of them, another proof of his talent, leadership, and consistency. Curiously, Emanuel was inspired to start beach volleyball after watching the next player in our list, Karch Kiraly.
Calling Karch Kiraly the greatest volleyball player ever is nothing but fair. Few players, if any, have been as successful on the court and on the sand as Kiraly, and few will ever be. Kiraly is an athlete of extreme skill and dedication, which allowed him to become the "sport-changing" athlete that he has become. After winning two Olympic gold medals and two FIVB MVP awards as an indoor volleyball player, Kiraly decided to change scenarios, retiring from the court and getting into the sand and beach volleyball, at the age of 32. He had played beach volleyball before, during his teen years, but never professionally.
Karch's first partner was Kent Steffes, playing in the American-based AVP tour, winning 74 AVP opens during his first four seasons. As beach volleyball became an Olympic Sport in 1996, Kiraly and Steffes were dominating the sport, and won the first ever men's beach volleyball Olympic gold medal, his third volleyball Olympic Gold. Playing through his 40s, Kiraly kept being a dominant player, making his presence felt on the AVP tour and beating significantly younger players.
Karch Kiraly's playing style was legendary. He is one of those players who understand what being an athlete really means, and what it takes to achieve success in the sport. He was known as a fierce competitor with an unflinching focus, whose skill and natural talent, in addition to the discipline and will, made him the best volleyball player ever.
With probably the coolest nickname in beach volleyball, Ricardo "The Block Machine" Santos is one of the most skilled players in beach volleyball history. Ricardo had his blocking ability as his greatest strength, still with a complete package when it came to attacking, having won the FIVB Offensive Player of the Year three times. The balance between defense and offense is a big part of Ricardo's success. The athlete has won numerous individual awards because of his skills while also finding the way to winning countless competitions with many different partners.
Ricardo's best double during his career was unquestionably with Emanuel, who is also present on this list. After playing for 20 years and in four editions of the Olympic Games, Ricardo made his debut at the AVP, defeating important doubles and gaining notoriety, showing his talent for beach volleyball even though he was past his prime. The beach volleyball legend won the AVP's Newcomer of the year award. In the first three seasons in the AVP, Ricardo has finished in third all of them, making it to the podium.
Having won almost everything in his career, it is not wrong to say that Ricardo has accomplished everything in beach volleyball. Still, he has one last desire, to play professionally in a double with his son. Judging by his medals and accomplishments, it is unquestionable that Ricardo deserves a place amongst the beach volleyball greatest. In addition to that, he still leaves a legacy behind, with his son also pursuing a career in beach volleyball.
With his clean shaved head, Phil Dalhausser is one of the most recognizable beach volleyball players ever. He is also one of the best and most accomplished beach volleyball players ever. Dalhausser has been incredibly successful nationally and internationally throughout his career, winning a total of 97 first place trophies. "The Thin Beast", as he is known, has won all of the major beach volleyball tournaments in the world, including the Olympics, the AVP tour, the FIVB Tour and the FIVB World Championships. In addition to that, his career is also filled with individual awards, again, from both national and international beach volleyball scenes.
Phil Dalhausser is the kind of player who is always working on his game, looking to improve all aspects of it. Proof of that is seen on his many, many individual awards mentioned above. Phil has won FIVB's Best Hitter, Best Spiker, Best Server, Best Setter, among others. If all those different awards weren't enough to show you that Phil is always evolving his game, he also won FIVB's Most Improved Player, in 2006, at the prime of his career. As the other players in this list, Phil Dalhausser is a beach volleyball legend, and has the reputation, the awards, the statistics, and the tournament wins to back that up.
Mike Dodd is one of beach volleyball greatests not only because of his accomplishments on the sand court, but also because of his legacy and impact on the sport outside of it. After a successful playing career Mike Dodd did not get away from beach volleyball, but stayed involved, and continues to do so. Dodd's playing career started at a very young age. At 16, he already showed he had the talent to be a top beach volleyball player. At college, Dudd was also a starred basketball player, proof of his athleticism and talent for sports. He ended up being selected in the NBA draft by the San Diego Clippers. Luckily for volleyball fans, he chose beach volleyball over basketball, where he found extensive success.
Dudd started playing professionally in the early 1980s when beach volleyball was not as big as it is today, and saw the sport grow in front of his eyes. During the 80's, Dodd won 6 Manhattan Beach opens in 8 years, with his partner Tim Hovland. At a time where beach volleyball was less international, Dodd was absolutely dominant in the United States, winning a total of 72 events in his home country throughout his career. Still, when time came, he also proved his value internationally, finishing second in the 1996 Olympic Games.
From a different time, Mike Dudd was a raw volleyball player, who trash talked and wanted to win more than anything. He brought that personality to his post beach volleyball career. Dudd coached men's and women's beach volleyball for Italy and the United States. He also served as an analyst for television during the Olympics, and even went on to become the AVP's commissioner. Truly, Mike Dodd has made his mark in beach volleyball, and will likely continue to do so.