For the first time since the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Kerri Walsh-Jennings will not receive a gold medal in women’s beach volleyball. Walsh-Jennings and teammate April Ross were upset by the Brazilian team of Agatha and Barbara during the semifinals early Wednesday morning in Rio.
In the prior three Olympic Games, Kerri played alongside Misty May-Treanor and the duo won gold in all three appearances. May-Treanor then made the decision to retire after the 2012 Olympics in London in order to focus on other goals in her life. She recently got her Master’s degree from Concordia University in Irvine, CA and was named director of volleyball operations at Long Beach City College back in June, according to Bustle.
Brazil did what no team in history has ever done. They beat Kerri Walsh Jennings in the Olympics.https://t.co/Yxns5NFZCJ
— SB Nation (@SBNation) August 17, 2016
During the 2012 Games in London, Walsh-Jennings and May-Treanor defeated Jen Kessy and Ross in the gold medal match. With May-Treanor retiring, Kerri needed a partner and ended up teaming with Ross shortly after the Olympics were over.
Kerri Walsh-Jennings and April Ross had only lost one set in their first five matches heading into the semis against Brazil. It certainly looked as if the Americans were headed for another gold medal, which would’ve made four straight for Walsh-Jennings, but the Brazilians had something else to say.
Agatha and Barbara, the No. 2 seed in the Olympics, beat Kerri and April in straight sets by scores of 22-20 and 21-18 to advance to the gold medal match against Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst. Ludwig and Walkenhorst defeated the other Brazilian team, Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, in straight sets to reach the finals.
In the loss to Brazil, Walsh-Jennings wouldn’t place any blame on her partner. Instead, Kerri said the Brazilians had a gameplan to attack the weakest link, and that was her.
“You’ve got to pass the ball to win matches,” Walsh-Jennings said. “I don’t even know how many aces they got — four per game, maybe, on me? That’s unacceptable and inexcusable. I’ve been served aggressively this whole tournament, when people serve at me, and so has April (Ross). We’ve handled it in every other situation so it is really disappointing and heartbreaking to not do that tonight.
“You can’t do anything without a pass. That’s what set the tone. We never got our mojo after that, and that’s why,” Walsh-Jennings added.
Kerri also referred to her performance as rocky and said that the Brazilians should have targeted her because she wasn’t playing well, according to USA Today.
Shock for #USA
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 17, 2016
Walsh-Jennings’ Olympic record now falls to 26-1, and the two set losses now bring Kerri’s total to four in those 27 matches. Walsh-Jennings and Ross will now face the No. 1 seed Larissa and Talita in the bronze medal match on Wednesday at the Copacabana Olympic beach volleyball venue.
It will be interesting to see how Kerri Walsh-Jennings responds in the bronze medal match. Obviously, Kerri didn’t come back to the Olympics for anything other than a gold, but the Americans still have a chance to salvage a spot on the medal podium with a victory on Wednesday night. Hopefully, Ross and Walsh-Jennings can refocus and still bring a medal back to the United States.
The bronze medal match between the United States and Brazil will take place at 9 p.m. ET on NBC and will be followed by the gold medal match between Germany and Brazil at 11 p.m. ET.
Make sure to tune in to root on Kerri Walsh-Jennings in what very well could be the final Olympic match of her career.
[Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images]