29.04.2020 - Vienna, Austria
The Beach Major Series has been raising the level of international beach volleyball for the last five seasons and during this time amazing stories have been written, fantastic victories have been celebrated, beautiful locations have been visited and new legends have been established.
A total of 377 female players from 54 different countries have competed in the Series already and from those just 43 had the honor of taking one of more medals home. It’s the absolute elite of the sport.
By using this data, we tried to determine who are the five most successful women to ever set foot in a Beach Major Series event. It was a tough task and, honestly, several others could have been included in this list, but here are our picks, in no specific order.
The German star has competed in just three of the Series’ five seasons, but she had no trouble in leaving her mark. Her team with Laura Ludwig was consistently at the top of the standings between 2015 and 2017 as the Rio 2016 Olympic champions won seven medals – including five golds – and had nine semifinal appearances in their 11 events together. The highlight was undoubtedly the 2017 season, when they won both the World Championships in Vienna and the World Tour Finals in their home sand of Hamburg. One of the best blockers in the international game, Kira, who won impressive 78.08% of the matches she played at the Beach Major Series, is returning to the sport and could improve on those results.
The Brazilian Olympic medalist is another of the stars present in this list who are currently on the early stages of a much-welcomed comeback as she recently unretired to play with wife Lili Maestrini. Her team with Talita Antunes is arguably the most successful ever in the Series and a lot of that is on Larissa, one of the most competitive and technically sound players to ever step on a beach volleyball court. Between 2015 and 2017, the Brazilians won a Series-record nine medals, including five golds, and finished in the top-four in ten of the 12 events they competed at. That stretch, which had a record 25-match undefeated streak, has helped Larissa to secure the highest winning ratio among all 767 players who ever competed at the Beach Major Series at an absurd 85.53%.
Laura was Kira’s partner in all her achievements and, more than that, she was the heart of the team that dominated the world between 2016 and 2017. A phenomenal defender and one of the most charismatic athletes in the planet, the German star is one of just four women to have won five gold medals in the Series. She was off the courts in 2018 to give birth to her son Teo and returned slowly in 2019 with new partner Maggie Kozuch, securing a fifth-place as their best finish in four Beach Major Series events, but her winning ratio is still sky-high at 74.16%.
The towering Canadian had successful stints with two different partners at the Beach Major Series. Between 2015 and 2016, she paired with Heather Bansley and the team won two silver and one bronze medals. After a tumultuous breakup with Heather, Sarah joined Melissa Humana-Paredes and the combination of her unmatched net presence and her new partner’s brilliant defensive game proved capable to do wonders as the duo went to win four Beach Major Series titles in 12 events together, including the 2019 World Championships, which was the pinnacle of both of their careers so far. Sarah has missed just two events in the Series and is the only woman to have played more than 100 matches. Her Series-high 77 victories in 106 games are good for a 72.64% winning ratio.
Talita and Larissa wouldn’t have won as much as they did if Talita’s side out game wasn’t spotless for three entire seasons. Targeted by virtually every serve against the team, the three-time Olympian has been nothing short of spectacular when it came to scoring points. Her consistency and impressive decision-making skills have led the team to win nine medals and five golds, both records in the Series, in the midst of a 25-match unbeaten run. After missing the 2018 season due to the birth of her son Renato, the veteran returned in 2019 and showed she still has what it takes to compete for the top spots as she had a semifinal appearance in Vienna, just her second event with Taiana Lima.