The first games shortly after the Tokyo Olympics Kerry Walsh Jennings Elusive since 1996, the beach volleyball legend finally made the phone call.
Walsh Jennings, now 44, now 41, called. Logan TomHer teammate at Stanford in 1999 and on the U.S. Olympic indoor volleyball team in 2000. “She’s like a sister,” Walsh Jennings said.
Walsh Jennings asked Tom, who has played in four Olympics indoors and at club level, to be her new partner during her 2006-07 beach stint.
“She was like, ‘Kerry, you’re a bat—crazy,'” Walsh Jennings recalled Tuesday.
It took a while — Walsh Jennings called the last year-plus a “saga” — but Tom agreed to a six-week trial at the end of last year ( video here ). Their first official practice as a team was last week, Walsh Jennings said. They hope to play their first international tournament together in March, although trying to get into an event will be difficult due to a lack of ranking on common points.
“When I go around to compete for the last time, I want to feel really good and feel special,” Walsh Jennings said. “Logan brings that.
“She’s been my favorite person since I met her at Stanford, and she’s one of my favorite teammates. She is such a champion. So the thought of getting together makes us both smile; That’s why we do this.
Walsh Jennings is the most decorated beach volleyball player in history with Olympic gold medals in 2004, 2008 and 2012. Misty May-Treanor And with 2016 in bronze April Ross.
But she’s not trying to qualify as one of two U.S. women’s beach teams for the 2024 Paris Games. At least not yet.
“Paris is in the background, isn’t it?” said Walsh Jennings, who last played in the tournament in June 2021. “That’s obvious. That will be the ultimate goal, but we are taking this one chapter at a time.
Emails seeking comment for Tom’s address, which was used to schedule the 2016 interview, were not returned.
Qualification for the Paris Games is based on international results between now and June 2024. For any American looking to get in, it would require at least one of the best youth teams in the world.
Kelly Cheng And Sarah Hughes They have won all four tournaments since joining last season, including last week’s World Tour Finals win over Brazil. Taryn Kloth And Christine Nuss He has won five times between domestic AVP and international FIVB tours in 2022.
“I’m very comfortable being a long shot, because I know we’re going to put in time,” Walsh Jennings said. “It doesn’t make sense to do it on paper, this late in the game with no points and everything. But I feel like it’s in my heart, it’s in her heart, and we’ll talk about it.
Alix KleinmanThe Tokyo Olympic gold medalist with Ross announced her pregnancy last week. Kleinman, 33, could return from maternity leave for the late 2024 Olympic run.
Ross, 40, last competed in March and then retired ahead of June’s world championships. Emily Day, with unspecified damage. She has not announced if or when she plans to return to competition.
Walsh Jennings and her last partner, Brock LabThey were in place to qualify for the Tokyo Games during the Covid-19 pandemic. After the Olympics were postponed for a year, the younger Cheng And Sarah Sponsl He made a late payment and took the last place from them.
“All of 2021 was tougher than anything else,” said Walsh Jennings as she introduced Firefly Rehab, which is helping her return after the longest layoff of her career. “I lost myself. I didn’t know how to play anymore. Brock and I fell apart, but we tried hard.”
In the last two races, Walsh Jennings and Laub have failed to win a major draw. BVBinfo.com reports that they were two of the three lowest finishes in Walsh Jennings’ career, which spanned more than 250 domestic and international events.
“Is this the end? I’m literally going to pass out?” Walsh Jennings said. “In my heart and in my body, that didn’t feel good.”
Walsh Jennings could break the record for the oldest Olympic beach volleyball player since the sport’s inception at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. In the year Come 2024, Tom will surpass all but one of the previous Olympic beachcombers, according to Olympia.org.
“To put all that pressure and energy on fitness just doesn’t make sense for us right now,” said Walsh Jennings, who said her six-surgery right shoulder is feeling “weird.” “Let’s take it one step at a time.”
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