Athlete Spotlight: Kerri Walsh Jennings, Total Beach Babe
Name: Kerri Walsh Jennings
Sport: Beach Volleyball
Height: 6’3” Weight: 157 lbs
Date of Birth: August 15, 1978
Accomplishments: Olympic Gold Medalist (3), World Championships Gold Medalist (3), World Championships Silver Medalist (1)
Kerri Walsh Jennings was born in Santa Clara, California and remained in the state as she grew up and developed her athletic skills. In high school, Walsh Jennings would win three consecutive volleyball state championships and one basketball state championship. Oddly enough, Walsh Jennings and future teammate May-Treanor competed against each other in high school. Kerri Walsh Jennings received the Gatorade National High School Volleyball Player of the Year Award in 1996, which was the first year the award was ever presented.
Walsh Jennings attended Stanford University for college and played volleyball. She was selected as a first-team All-American four years in a row. The Stanford Cardinals won four consecutive conference titles and two national titles she was part of the team.
Following college, Kerri Walsh Jennings would team up with another great college volleyball player in Misty May-Treanor to form arguably the most dominant beach volleyball pairing of all time.
Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor initially teamed up for AVP beach volleyball in 2001. By 2002, the pair had become the number one ranked team in the U.S. AVP Tour. The pair continued to dominate and set records for consecutive matches and titles won until 2008.
Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor went on to win gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics without dropping a single set to an opponent. This success would continue, but with a slight hiccup, during the 2012 Summer Olympics. The pair would lose an opening set to an Austrian team in the preliminary round, but go on to win the match. They eventually went on to win the gold medal at this Olympics as well in what would be the pairs last run together.
Following May-Treanor’s retirement from the sport, Walsh Jennings has continued to compete with new teammate April Ross. Walsh Jennings now holds the career record for most wins by a female professional volleyball player.
Kerri Walsh Jennings has received several accolades for her success on the volleyball court, including top honors from both the AVP and FIVB in various areas of the sport.
Off the Sand:
Kerri Walsh Jennings has become an American Icon when it comes to the Summer Olympics. Due to her success in beach volleyball, she has made several media appearances. She has appeared a few TV show appearances and has posed nude for the 2013 ESPN Body Issue, proudly displaying her before and after pregnancy body.
Walsh Jennings is married to Casey Jennings, an American men’s pro beach-volleyball player. The couple has three children together. Walsh Jennings was five weeks pregnant with the last child during her 2012 Summer Olympics title. Doctors have confirmed that her participation did not harm the baby or herself.
While Misty May-Treanor is now retired, Kerri Walsh Jennings continues to compete and will represent the U.S. in the 2016 Summer Olympcis. Paired up with new teammate April Ross, the duo will look to achieve Walsh Jennings’ fourth consecutive gold medal.