|ESPN.com: Volleyball||[Print without images]|
LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Olympic beach volleyball champion Julius Brink of Germany has retired because of injuries, ending a planned title defense at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
The 31-year-old Brink says in an International Volleyball Federation statement that it is "a bitter moment, but a sensible decision."
He and playing partner Jonas Reckermann were the first European winners of the men's Olympic title at the 2012 London Games.
They were the first world champions from Europe when taking the 2009 title.
Brink ends his playing career due to hip and thigh injuries, after a shoulder injury stopped Reckermann.
Brink had targeted Rio with new partner Armin Dollinger.
He says, "I want Armin to have every chance of achieving his Olympic dream in 2016 and not stand in his way."