April 21, 2005
Spend a day in the sun watching world-class athletes jump, sweat and get covered in sand when the Association of Volleyball Professionals tour stops at Tempe Beach Park this weekend.
Among those competing will be Olympic gold medalists Misty May, Kerri Walsh, Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana. Tempe will truck in more than 20 tons of sand to create eight beach volleyball courts where a grassy park once stood. This is the third year the city has played host to an AVP tournament.
“We chose Tempe because it is a wonderful town with many connections to sports,” says AVP commissioner Leonard Armato. “It adds to the great lifestyle component of AVP, and the Tempe stop has the potential of becoming one of the best events on the entire tour.”
The stakes have been raised this year, with AVP doubling the total prize money to $3 million. “We wanted to increase the prize money to help our competitors look at (volleyball) as a profession,” Armato says. “The added incentive gives us more respect as a real sport and to help us grow in popularity.”
AVP Beach Volleyball Tournament
When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Tempe Beach Park, Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway
How much: $15