Solingen, Germany, May 26, 2020 – It has been almost eight years since Jonas Reckermann has played in a competitive beach volleyball event, but the German Olympic champion still follows the game working as a television announcer and camp instructor with his gold medal winning partner Julius Brink.
Reckermann, who teamed with Brink to capture the gold medals at the 2009 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and 2012 Olympic Games, celebrates his 41st birthday today in a city 23 miles north of Cologne and near the border with Belgium and the Netherlands, with his wife Katja and sons Emil (7) and Anton (5).
The JJs (Jonas Reckermann & Julius Brink) at a 2016 FIVB event in Hamburg
“Julius and I host a beach volleyball camp every year, one week in the autumn,” said Reckermann, who started his FIVB World Tour career with Markus Dieckmann by winning four of eight matches in mid-June 2001 at an event in the Canary Islands at Tenerife, Spain.
“I would have been at the Olympics this summer in Tokyo, working as a TV commentator,” said Reckermann. “I still love the sport and follow the competitions. I also love to have time for my family and work as a teacher at a sports school and work with talents from different kinds of sports.”
When not following the international and domestic beach volleyball circuits, Reckermann works full-time as a geography teacher and athletics coach. In his leisure time, he works on his tennis skill, plays soccer, or takes a ride on his mountain bike.
“The pandemic situation is really not easy, especially for the younger pupils,” said Reckermann, “but people are recognizing that digitalization could be useful in many perspectives. I hope this gives the digital support for schools in Germany a significant push.”
As for his family and the pandemic, Reckermann said “our kids could not play with their friends or visit their grandparents. Homeschooling is mostly not sexy, and sport is just possible in our own garden. But I don´t complain. Everybody in our family is in good health, we have a garden for relaxing and some sports. Germany in general wasn´t hit as hard as other countries in the pandemic.”
As for the postponement of Tokyo 2020, Reckermann said “it is hard for the players, some of them were already or almost qualified, others wanted to stop their career after the Olympics and have a tough decision to take now. But the postponement was without any alternative and I am still not sure if it can take place next year.”
When asked about the FIVB World Tour, Reckermann said it was “fun to see, new teams with their own philosophy are getting to the top. Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway are amazing and are still a good step away from their best performance.”
Reckermann also said he wished he had the same “reach as some of the blockers now. The level at the top is very tight. There are many teams - especially from Europe - that could reach the podium in the big tournaments. Right now, the best three men’s teams in the world are from Russia (Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Oleg Stoyanovskiy), Germany (Julius Thole/Clemens Thole) and Norway (Mol/Sorum).
In two of the four big 2019 tournaments, the Russian, German and Norwegian teams finished 1-2-3 at events in Hamburg (World Championships) and Rome (World Tour finals). Mol and Sorum, who placed behind the Russians and Germans in Hamburg and Rome, captured the gold medals at the other two big tournaments in Switzerland and Austria.
“The game might be a little bit more physical than in 2012,” said Reckermann, who was the World Tour’s top blocker in 2009 as he amassed a 398-176 FIVB match record (69.3%) while playing with four different partners at 104 events including Dieckmann (43 tournaments with two gold medals and 10 podiums), Brink (33 events, five titles and 21 medals), Mischa Urbatzka (27 appearances together, four finals and five medals) and Eric Koreng (one event with a ninth).
“It is good to see that there is still space for players like Lupo (Daniele of Italy), Fijalek (Grzegorz of Poland), Bruno (Oscar Schmidt of Brazil) or even the old-guys like Jake Gibb (the 44-year old American),” said Reckermann, who set a World Tour record in 2009 by winning 25-straight matches in one season with Brink.
At 41, Reckermann enjoys his “work at school, watching his sons growing up and following the world of sport, especially supporting FC Cologne in London to play Arsenal after 25 years without participation in any European Cup.”
Jonas and sonsAlso read:Reckermann & 26 golds highlight May 24-30 in World Tour history