Not long after the Tokyo Olympics, the first Games Kerry Walsh Jennings It hasn’t been since 1996 that the beach volleyball legend finally called.
Walsh, now 44, dialed Jennings—41 years old Logan TomHer teammate at Stanford in 1999 and on the US Olympic indoor volleyball team in 2000. “She’s like a sister,” Walsh Jennings said.
Walsh Jennings, who played in four Olympics at indoor and club level in 2006-07 with Beech Stent, asked Tom if he would be interested in being her new partner.
“She said, ‘Kerry, you’re crazy,'” Walsh Jennings recalled Tuesday.
It took a while — Walsh Jennings called last year’s Plus “a saga” — but Tom agreed to a six-week trial period late 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 their collective lack of ranking points.
“For my last race, I want it to be really good and feel special,” Walsh Jennings said. “Logan brings it.
“She’s been someone I’ve loved since I met her at Stanford, and she’s just one of my favorite teammates. She is such a champion. So the thought of us getting together makes us both smile and that’s why we do it.
Walsh Jennings is the most decorated beach volleyball player in history, winning Olympic gold medals in 2004, 2008 and 2012. Misty May-Trainer and bronze in 2016 April Rose.
But she’s not hyped about trying to qualify as one of two U.S. women’s beach teams for the 2024 Paris Games. At least until now.
“Paris is in the background, isn’t it?” Walsh Jennings, who last played a tournament in June 2021, said. “There it is. That would be the ultimate goal, but we’re really just taking this one step at a time.
Emails seeking comment to Tom’s address used to schedule the 2016 interview were not returned.
Qualification for the Paris Games is based on international results between now and June 2024. Any American who wants to get into it will have to knock out at least one of the best youth teams in the world.
Kelly Cheng And Sarah Hughes They’ve won all four tournaments they’ve played since teaming up last fall, including beating the defending world champions from Brazil in last week’s World Tour final. Taryn Cloth And Kristen Nuss The 2022 domestic AVP has won five times between international FIVB tours.
“I’m pretty comfortable with being a long shot because I know we’re going to find time,” Walsh Jennings said. “It didn’t make sense on paper to do it, it was late in the game with no points. But I feel like it’s in my heart and hers, and we’ll give it a whirl.
Alix Kleinman, who won Tokyo Olympic gold with Rose, announced last week that she was pregnant. Kleinman, 33, could return from maternity leave for the 2024 Olympic run.
Rose, 40, last competed in March and then withdrew before June’s world championships, where she entered Emily Day, with an unspecified injury. She has not announced when she will return to competition.
Walsh Jennings and her late partner, Brooke Sweat, was in position to qualify for the Tokyo Games when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. After the Olympics were postponed for a year, the younger Cheng And Sarah Sponsill Charged late and wrested that last spot from them.
“2021 was the toughest of my career,” Walsh Jennings said while promoting Firefly Recovery, which is helping her come back after the longest competitive break of her career. “I lost myself. I didn’t know how to play anymore. Brooke and I were disconnected, but trying hard.
In their last two tournaments, Walsh Jennings and Swett did not win a main draw match. According to BVBinfo.com, those were two of the three lowest finishes in Walsh Jennings’ career spanning more than 250 domestic and international events.
“I’m like, ‘Is this the end? Am I going to literally limp?”’ Walsh Jennings said. “It didn’t feel good in my heart and body.”
Walsh Jennings could break the record of being the oldest Olympic beach volleyball player since she debuted at the 1996 Atlanta Games. According to Olympia.org, in 2024 Tom will be older than the previous two Olympic beach players.
“It doesn’t make sense for us right now to create this pressure and this energy to qualify,” said Walsh Jennings, whose right shoulder, which has been repaired six times, feels “fantastic.” “Let’s take it one step at a time.”
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