Australian beach volleyballers Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy had only just finished removing the last of the Copacabana sand from their gear when the news came though – they had received a wild card entry to compete at the season-ending World Tour final.
The ticket to Toronto was thoroughly deserved for the Adelaide-based pair, who had qualified for the Olympics as one of the best teams in the world, and had reached the quarter finals in Rio.
The chance of getting a call-up obviously meant there was no chance for Bawden and Clancy to join some of their Olympic teammates in post-Games celebrations.
But Bawden didn’t mind.
“This event is an opportunity for T (Taliqua) and I to enjoy competing amongst the best teams in the world,” Bawden said.
“It is a special tournament in a great location and a reflection of the growth of beach volleyball. We are grateful to share this experience as a team.
“It has been a short turn around since Rio so there wasn't a lot of time to prepare for this tournament. But we have built into it well and set some strong goals for how we want to go out and play our best game.”
Bawden and Clancy have been drawn in the same group as Olympic bronze medallists, Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross, who beat the Australians in the Olympic quarter finals.
The third team in the group is Switzerland’s Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre, who finished ninth in Rio.
Bawden said the Australians will be looking to build on what they learned on beach volleyball’s biggest stage.
“We thoroughly enjoyed our Olympic experience,” she said.
“T and I really loved representing Australia and we felt proud of our team work, work ethic and fighting spirit.
“We are stronger for the experience we gained in Rio and look forward to continuing to grow our level of performance in this event and going into 2017.”
Bawden and Clancy begin their campaign against Forrer and Verge-Depre early Thursday morning, AEST. They are currently locked together at three wins each from recent meetings.