Heather Bansley

Heather Bansley

BEACH VOLLEYBALL — Targeting Tokyo 2020

2018 FIVB World Ranking – First Overall
2016 Olympic Games – Fifth Place
2018 FIVB  Itapema Open – Bronze
2018 FIVB Ostrava Open – Silver
2018 FIVB Gstaad Major Open – Bronze
2018 FIVB Las Vegas Open – Gold
2018, 2016 & 2015 FIVB World Tour Best Defensive Player
2009, 2010 CIS All-Canadian (University of Toronto)
Social Followers: Instagram, 13,100; Twitter, 4,804; Facebook, 1,200
Hometown: Waterdown, Ontario

Following a successful indoor career at the University of Toronto – where she was the OUA Player of the Year and a two-time CIS All-Canadian that lead the entire nation in kills, aces and points-per-set – Heather turned her full attention to beach volleyball.

Blessed with a perfect blend of strength and speed, Heather’s indoor game transitioned to the beach beautifully.

She eventually found her way to the FIVB World Tour in 2010, narrowly missing a qualifying spot for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

In 2013, Heather teamed up with 6-foot-5 indoor superstar Sarah Pavan and the two quickly matured into the top internationally-ranked Canadian pair and began the long process of qualifying for the Olympic Games.

Motivated by the ‘narrow miss’ of London 2012, Heather was determined to succeed on the FIVB World Tour and leave no doubt that they belonged in Rio 2016.

Their breakthrough came in 2015.

Heather and Sarah earned their first FIVB World Tour medal at the beginning of the season at the Prague Open, finishing second. Weeks later, they earned Canada’s first-ever FIVB Major Series medal for women at the Porec Major in Croatia.

More team success followed.

Heather and Sarah finished 5th at the World Championships in The Netherlands and earned two more bronze-medal finishes at Major Series and Grand Slam events in Switzerland and Japan.

The season ended with a fourth-place finish at the FIVB World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale and the announcement that Heather was named the 2015 FIVB World Tour Best Defensive Player.

Rio 2016 opened with a sense of purpose for Team Pavan/Bansley as they breezed through pool play without a loss and opened the playoffs with a win against Canada's second team.

Up next, the German team of Ludwig/Walkenhorst in the Quarterfinals.

What looked like a solid matchup for the promising Canadian pair ended their Olympic journey at famed Copacabana Beach.

But after the Germans went on to convincingly win Olympic gold over Brazil in straight sets, it seemed more like an unlucky early draw.

After their Olympic journey, Sarah and Heather decided to pursue separate paths with different partners leading into the Swatch World Tour Finals in front of the hometown fans in Toronto.

When the event's promoter suggested that the past partners square off in a win-and-your-in scenario, the match was set: Pavan vs Bansley.

In a one-sided win, Heather's defensive prowess was the difference leading her and new partner Brandie Wilkerson into the season-ending $100,000 event.

To cap off the emotional season, Heather was awarded her second consecutive FIVB World Tour Best Defensive Player.

The pair continued their progress during the 2017 FIVB season and formed a complementary playing style with Brandie as an emerging, dominant blocker, and Heather as a defensive genius.

Driven by an off-court friendship and another season of growth, Bansley/Wilkerson began the 2018 season with one-to-watch status and ended up ranked as the number one team in the world.

Going into the Olympic Qualification process, it's clear that the two are playing for each other, and the rest of the beach volleyball world has taken notice.

And in Tokyo 2020, they'll look to turn their good vibes into beach volleyball gold for Canada.

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