Julius Brink: The groundbreaker

Presenting the member of the FIVB Athletes’ Commission and Olympic, world and continental champion

Julius Brink is one of several players who broke a lot of beach volleyball ground for Europe during his fabulous career on the sand. He and his partner Jonas Reckermann were the first European pair to win Olympic gold in either gender. And they were the first European team to claim the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour season title in the 21st century (second of all time). Brink was the first European athlete to win three FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship medals in either gender. The German star was also among the first members of the FIVB Athletes’ Commission upon its historic launch in 2016 and he is still serving as a member today.

Julius' first encounter with volleyball came in 1988 when he was only six years old. Some 11 years later, in 1999, he switched to beach volleyball. In his very first international tournament, the 2000 CEV U20 European Championship, he and Niklas Rademacher took bronze. Later that year, Brink made his FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour debut with a ninth-place finish at the Brazil Open in Vitória alongside Markus Dieckmann.

It was not until 2005 when he earned his first FIVB medals. With Kjell Schneider as a partner, Brink celebrated a World Championship bronze in Berlin and a World Tour gold in Espinho. The following year, the 1.86m-tall defender claimed his first continental title, a European Championship gold in the Hague, and in 2008 he made his Olympic debut in Beijing, both with Christoph Dieckmann as a teammate.

For the next Olympic cycle, Brink joined forces with Reckermann and that proved to be the most successful period of his career. Early into their cooperation, they topped the podium at the 2009 World Championship in Stavanger and went on dominating the World Tour to triumph as 2009 season champions, the first European duo to do so since the 1994 victory of Norway’s Jan Kvalheim and Bjorn Maaseide.

At the next edition of the FIVB’s flagship event, Rome 2011, the defending champions took bronze, which made Brink the first European with three World Championship medals to his name. That year, they took the continental title in Kristiansand as well, and defended it a year later in the Hague.

Brink & Reckermann celebrate upon winning the London 2012 Olympic final

Of course, the main reason 2012 was a big year for Brink and Reckermann was the Olympic Games in London. In the British capital, the German pair went on a seven-game winning streak, culminating in a fascinating 2-1 (23-21, 16-21, 16-14) victory over heavy favourites Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego of Brazil in the final, and earning Europe’s first Olympic gold on the sand in either gender.

In addition to an Olympic title, three World Championship podiums and three EuroBeachVolley crowns, Julius Brink finished his playing career with seven gold, 11 silver and 12 bronze medals on the World Tour, as well as five gold, two silver and three bronze medals at European Masters tournaments. He was also a five-time national champion of Germany.

Julius Brink interviews Norway's Christian Sorum & Anders Mol at the 2019 World Championship

After retiring as an active player, Brink has stayed close to the sport as a TV journalist, a keynote speaker and a beach volleyball instructor.

Julius Brink was one of the founding members of the FIVB Athletes’ Commission when it was launched during the Olympic Games Rio 2016. In March 2021, he was re-appointed for his second term.