The Latvian Olympians are playing in only their second FIVB World Championships after qualifying for Vienna via the FIVB World Tour ranking. After the team placed ninth in 2013 at the Polish worlds, Smedins was sidelined with a knee injury in 2015 and Samoilovs teamed with his former partner Martin Plavins to place 17th. While Samoilovs is playing in his sixth world championships, Smedins is competing in his second as he Plavins placed fourth in the Rome 2011 world championships. A three-time Olympian, Samoilovs teamed with Plavins to win the 2015 FIVB under-21 world championships in Rio de Janeiro. Samoilovs started playing full-time on the FIVB World Tour in 2006 with Plavins as the pair qualified for the Beijing 2008 Olympics and eventually placed ninth. Smedins’ first FIVB World Tour event was in 2005 and he started playing with Plavins in 2009 as the partnership produced a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Samoilovs and Smedins were the top team on the international circuit for the 2013 and 2014 season as the partnership has netted nine FIVB World Tour gold medals.