“I keep fighting for my comeback” – Julius Brink
No one can deny that things have been difficult for Brink following the 2012 Olympic Games in London where he made history by being the first European to win beach volleyball Olympic gold with partner Jonas Reckerman.
The euphoria of the Games was short lived as the winning partnership was forced to come to end when Jonas Reckerman – the man with whom Brinks also won a world title at Stavanger 2009 – announced his retirement from the game. And with Brink plagued with injury for most of this year’s beach volleyball season, his chances of maintaining his form with new partner Sebastian Fuchs in 2013 were significantly diminished. The result was a 17th place in the season-opening Fuzhou Open and a quarterfinal finish at the Shanghai Grand Slam. And then at the Corrientes Grand Slam in May, the duo only managed to achieve a disappointing 25th place.
Just when it seemed things couldn’t get any worse, all hopes of taking part in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Poland were dashed when Brink’s ongoing thigh problems ruled him out once again from high-level competition. Although he was hopeful of returning to the sands, the rest of the year saw him sit out many of the major competitions.
The duo may have not been able to develop their partnership in the way they would have preferred this year. But Brink was adamant that his decision to leave Fuchs and partner with Armin Dollinger wasn’t a decision purely based on results. “Together we finished fifth in the Grand Slam in Shanghai,” said Brink. “One must not forget that in addition to Erdmann’s and Matysik’s third place finish at the World Cup we had the best result for German men in 2013. It was not a decision I took based on one single reason.”
Brink’s subsequent decision to team up with Dollinger was also not one that was taken lightly. “Let’s just say that there wasn’t just a single exchange,” said Brink. “I sought out contact with Armin and then we had a talk. Everything else went pretty quickly after that.”
The Olympic champion is now preparing for the 2014 season with renewed confidence and vigour. “For me, after winning the gold medal in 2012, I realised that to progress and achieve new goals, I can only achieve this with my team. This includes three coaches and a psychologist. I'm very, very proud and also deeply convinced of this team. Armin fits into the team well and certainly brings a lot of requirements with him, which I believe others will learn in our team.”
And he is also full of admiration for his new team mate saying, “I think that in Germany there hasn’t been a block player who was so good at his age. Armin is a great talent and a hell of a smart guy.”
While Brink’s fans will no doubt be willing their champion back onto the courts, they can be rest assured that his love for the game continues to drive his ambition and desire to continue playing. "I keep fighting for my comeback. I am happy to soon be back in the sand,” said Brink.