Kerri Walsh Jennings Is Fine With a Bronze Medal, Thanks for Asking

Regina Holmes
August 22, 2016

It was painful to watch. You could see the confidence increasing with every block at net, every victor spiked to the sand. The defeat marked Walsh Jennings' first loss of her Olympic career. With May-Treanor retiring, Kerri needed a partner and ended up teaming with Ross shortly after the Olympics were over. The second-seeded Agatha and Barbara defeated Ross and Walsh Jennings, 22-20, 21-18, in the mid-night semifinal match.

With 10 total Olympic Beach Volleyball medals, the American men medaled in 1996 (gold and silver), 2000 (gold) and 2008 (gold) quadrennials.

Is this it for Kerri Walsh Jennings? The standards are so high for someone who was 21-0 in three previous Olympiads.

In the loss to Brazil, Walsh-Jennings wouldn't place any blame on her partner.

"April Ross is the champion of the world right now", Walsh Jennings declared after the match. The Americans clawed their way back quickly, though, and once again the match settled into its rhythm of points being traded, neither team able to separate from its opponent by more than a point or two. That, or rather its equivalent in local currency, 350 reals, was the official price of the cheapest seats Tuesday for the beach volleyball at Copacabana.

With the fans slow to fill the stadium for Tuesday's first match, the Germans seized on an unusually tranquil atmosphere to steal the opening set and walk away with the second before the Brazilian duo could hit their rhythm. Agatha and Barbara targeted her throughout the match.

"It was very poor execution on my part, at the most fundamental part of the game", she said. Even though Jennings is much older than most of her competitors, she is lightening fast on the court.

"It was nearly liberating how naked I felt", Walsh Jennings said this summer. That's unacceptable and inexcusable. "You've got to pass the ball to win matches". That's what set the tone. She shared with us three of the secrets that helped her get back to Rio for an unlikely fifth Games. And it's the first time since Sydney that Walsh Jennings has not won Olympic gold. Ross went back and served an ace to give the United States of America a 19-15 lead, but Brazil scored consecutive points, the second on its sixth ace of the match, to get within two at 19-17. The duo's flawless record in Olympic matches is a remarkable feat in itself.

"I don't agree with that", Ross said.

Walsh Jennings and Ross have a chance to leave Rio with a good taste.

The Brazilian duo, ranked No. 2, was looking to avenge another home team, Talita, and Larissa, that was eliminated earlier in the day to Germany.

It grew like a myth Wednesday night on the sands next to Guanabara Bay, where a raucous home crowd came anticipating a Carioca party with Brazilians winning gold and bronze.

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