ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA – Kerri Walsh Jennings will call it a career in beach volleyball after the Tokyo Olympics in two years.
She has big plans before her days on the sand are done, and for improving the long-term health and growth of the sport well into the future by creating new playing opportunities in the U.S.
The three-time Olympic gold medalist absolutely expects to go out with another gold around her neck from the 2020 Games after she and partner April Ross wound up with bronze at Rio in 2016, a heartbreaking disappointment that still stings for Walsh Jennings yet fuels her at the same time.
“I haven’t shouted it from the mountaintops,” Walsh Jennings said earlier this week of her career timeline in a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press.
It may sound like a daunting task ahead: Walsh Jennings will turn 42 during the next Olympics. She has yet to settle on a partner though she has narrowed down her choice to two women. She is also coming off a pair of surgeries last year on her right shoulder and left ankle.
Just three weeks ago she began using the shoulder to hit the ball with her usual power and motion.
“I have no partner. I just came off two surgeries, and I know I’m going to win gold in Tokyo,” she said emphatically of her Olympic hurrah despite her share of lows in recent years.