Shortly after the Tokyo Olympics, the first Olympic Games Kerry Walsh Jennings The beach volleyball legend long missed since 1996 finally made the call.
Walsh Jennings, 44, called, 41 logan tom, her 1999 teammate at Stanford and the 2000 US Olympic indoor volleyball team. “She’s like a big sister,” Walsh Jennings said.
Walsh Jennings asked Tom, who has competed in four Olympics and competed at club level through at least 2019, and spent time on the beach during the 2006-07 season, if she would be her new partner. time.
“She said, ‘Kerri, you’re crazy,'” Walsh Jennings recalled Tuesday.
It took a while — Walsh Jennings called last year’s addition “legendary” — but Tom agreed to a six-week trial late last year (video here). Walsh Jennings said their first official practice as a team was last week. They hope to play their first international tournament together in March, although trying to get into one will be tricky due to their collective lack of ranking points.
“For my last race, I want it to feel really good and feel really special,” Walsh Jennings said. “Logan brought it.
“She’s been someone I’ve loved since I met her at Stanford, and she’s just one of my favorite teammates. She’s such a champion. So the thought of us getting together just makes us all smile, and that’s who we are.” reason for doing so.”
Walsh Jennings is the most awarded beach volleyball player in history, having won Olympic gold medals in 2004, 2008 and 2012 Misty May-Treanor Bronze medal in 2016 April Rose.
But she’s not making a big splash, trying to be one of two U.S. women’s beach teams at the 2024 Paris Olympics. At least not yet.
“The setting is Paris, right?” said Walsh Jennings, who last competed in June 2021. That would be the end goal, but we’re actually doing it one stage at a time. “
Emails seeking comment to the address Tom used to arrange the 2016 interview have not yet returned.
Qualification for the Paris Olympics depends on the results of international competitions between now and June 2024. For any American to play, it needs to beat at least one of the world’s top young teams.
Zheng Kaili and Sarah Hughes They have won all four of their tournaments since working together last fall, including beating the defending world champions from Brazil in last week’s World Tour Finals. Tallinn Cloth and Christianus Five-time winner between domestic AVP and international FIVB circuit in 2022.
“I’d love to be a really long-range pitcher because I know we’re going to put in time,” Walsh Jennings said. “It doesn’t make sense to do it on paper, with no points and everything at the end of the game. But I just feel like it’s in my heart, in her heart, we’re going to give it a go.”
Alix KleimanRose, who won Olympic gold in Tokyo with Rose, announced her pregnancy last week. Kleiman, 33, could return from childbirth to compete in the Olympics in late 2024.
Rose, 40, last competed in March before withdrawing ahead of the World Championships in June, when she qualified for the Emily Day, injuries unknown. She has not announced if or when she plans to return to the ring.
Walsh Jennings and her final partner, Brooksweet, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they were qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.One year after the postponement of the Olympic Games, Xiao Cheng and Sarah Spencer Made a late charge and snatched the last spot from them.
“All of 2021 has been tougher than at any point in my career,” Walsh Jennings said while promoting Firefly Recovery, which helped her return to action after the longest break of her career. “I lost myself. I didn’t know how to play anymore. Brooke and I didn’t connect, but we worked hard.”
In the past two races, Walsh Jennings and Sweet have not won a race. It was two of three lowest finishes for Walsh Jennings in a career of more than 250 domestic and international starts, according to BVBinfo.com.
“I thought, ‘Is this the end? Am I really going to limp out?'” Walsh Jennings said. “It didn’t feel good in my heart and in my body.”
Walsh Jennings broke the record for the oldest Olympic beach volleyball player since the sport’s debut in Atlanta in 1996. According to Olympedia.org, by 2024 Tom will be older than all but two previous Olympic beach athletes.
“Right now, it doesn’t make sense for us to create this pressure and energy around qualifying,” said Walsh Jennings, adding that her right shoulder, which underwent six surgical repairs, is feeling “fantastic.” . “Let’s take it one step at a time.”
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