Cast your minds back to August 9, 2012 and a floodlit evening
on Horse Guards Parade. A Brazilian player hits his spike into
touch, prompting the crowd to erupt, while on the other
side of the net two Germans launch into a strange dance
before embracing each other in jubilation. Back home in
Germany these sensational scenes were watched by millions
on television as the country discovered a new love for beach
Yet only six months after Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann set the
world of beach volleyball alight at London 2012, Europe’s greatest ever
triumph in the sport is already history. The duo are no longer competing
together. In January,
Reckermann announced his decision to
retire, aged 33. “It hurts,” he said. “I’m very conscious that it’s the end
of an era.”
Jonas Reckermann: ‘I’m very conscious that it’s the end of an era’
The final blow was a serious problem with his back
With partner Julius Brink and their Olympic gold medals
Reckermann, who finished ninth at the 2004 Olympics in Athens with
Markus Dieckmann, has been plagued by injuries for a number of
years. Last year, a shoulder injury nearly cost the blocker his place at the
Olympics, but the final blow was a serious problem with his back. “At
the end of December, MRI scans revealed that I had a cyst in my spinal
canal which was pressing on a nerve in my lower back,” he explained.
And then there was also some degeneration of the spinal cord which
we already knew about, but it was getting progressively worse.”
To continue training and playing at that level would have caused further
irreversible damage and this was not a risk Reckermann was prepared to
take. “He finished his career on a high, which I think is a great privilege
to be able to do, even if he was forced into the decision,” said Brink,
who at 30 is set to continue his career with a new partner, 26-year-old
Sebastian Fuchs.