Life’s a beach in downtown London

It’s hard not to notice London’s famous monuments: The Shard building, the Tower of London, Houses of Parliament and the London Eye, for example.

Listen closely these days, though, and the sound of 13,000 thousand fans supporting Olympic athletes provides an Olympic backdrop coming from the Beach Volleyball venue at Horse Guards Parade.

Canada’s Josh Binstock and Martin Reader are lucky enough to play their sport at this amazing venue in the heart of central London.

“This is the most unique venue beach volleyball has ever seen,” said Reader, 28-years-old originally from Vancouver now living in Toronto.

In the heart of London, the venue has two courts. It is a pop-up stadium, set up in four-and-a-half weeks. The vibe? A day at the beach, complete with live dancers and thousands of supporters cheering on the Olympians under the moonlight.

For Binstock and Reader, London is their first Olympic appearance. In round-robin play they beat host Great Britain but lost to Brazil and Norway and were knocked out in a tough game against Italy.

Binstock, 31, said he and his teammate both put pressure on themselves and had high expectations going the Games.

“The reality is our chemistry is fairly new to the game because it kind of shows,” said Binstock. We are good for about 90% and in the 10% we have a little miscommunication and that is the difference,” Binstock says adding they’ve only have been playing together for 10 months.

Regardless of their performance, Canadians in red and white turned up in large numbers to cheer on the guys. This included a fun but ruckus bunch, decked out with hockey helmets on, Canada flags draped around them like capes sipping beers.

They are Bintstock’s long-time friends who wanted to be in London to cheer him on at his Olympic debut. “Even after we lost they were cheering just as much as if we’d won. The love is unconditionally,” he said. “It’s humbling how many people believed in us.”


  • 4,115 tonnes of sand was used for the field of play and training courts in London
  • 3,483 trucks were used to transport the sand
  • 1920s – sport was first discovered on the beaches of California
  • 1992 – Beach volleyball was a demonstration sport in Barcelona
  • 1996 – Sport made official at the Games in Atlanta