Biography:

Ben Saxton followed in the footsteps of his father Don to become a Canadian Olympian in volleyball. But while his father’s success came on the indoor court, Saxton is fulfilling his dreams on the beach. After helping Canada earn an Olympic berth for London 2012, he and then-partner Christian Redmann lost in the final of the national trials. He went camping for a couple of weeks before figuring out what he would do next. Late in the year he partnered with fellow Albertan Chaim Schalk and they won their first tournament together, a NORCECA event in Chula Vista. That cemented the partnership of two players who were in favour of spending more time training in California with the top American teams. Another early highlight was a fifth place finish at the 2013 World Championships in Stare Joblonki, Poland for Canada’s best ever men’s result at the global event, after defeating one of the top teams in the world, Latvia’s Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs. Saxton and Schalk went on to reach their first ever FIVB World Tour podium in 2014, claiming bronze at the Parana Open in Argentina. They closed the season with a victory at the NORCECA continental championship. In 2015 they ended the season as the top-ranked Canadian men’s team on the World Tour, thanks in part to their podium finishes at the Yokohama and Olsztyn Grand Slam events. They reached a Major Series podium for the first time in July 2016, taking bronze in Porec, Croatia. In their Olympic debut at Rio 2016, Saxton and Schalk advanced to the round of 16.

Getting to know… 

Family: Parents Don and Mylene Saxton both played indoor volleyball at the elite level… His father was part of Canada’s best ever fourth place finish at Los Angeles 1984 and his mother also played with the national team… Older sister Milou… Younger sister Camille is also a professional beach volleyball player… Younger brother Dustin… Getting into the Sport: Grew up around volleyball because his parents own a facility, the Volleydome… Started playing at age 10 and picked up beach volleyball at age 15… Likes that in the beach game he has to be able to do everything on every play and can’t have weaknesses, as opposed to the specialized role players in the indoor game… As a kid played on teams with players several years older… Outside Interests: Studied education at the University of Alberta for three years (2006-09) before pursuing beach volleyball full time… Enjoys playing games such as Settlers of Catan and 7 Wonders… Odds and Ends: Nicknames: Ben Jammin, Sax… Collects sand from the different venues at which he competes… Favourite motto: “Actions speak louder than coaches”…