One of the most successful American Olympians of all time will not be at the Tokyo Games this summer. U.S. beach volleyball legend Kerri Walsh Jennings failed to qualify for the sixth Olympics of her career on Wednesday following an upset loss at a tournament in the Czech Republic.
The 42-year-old and her partner, Brooke Sweat, were unable to beat Dutch duo Raisa Schoon and Katja Stam, 21-18, 19-21, 15-12. They needed to finish third or better in the J&T Banka Ostrava Beach Open but did not even make it out of the qualifying rounds of the competition.
“It’s a terrible, terrible feeling,” Walsh Jennings told the Associated Press after the match. “It’s been a really rough year, and to lose in a qualifier, it feels really hard right now.”
Walsh Jennings gained much of her Olympic success alongside her longtime partner Misty May-Treanor. The two won gold medals at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics. The games in Athens and Beijing were especially incredible as the duo did not drop a single set during each campaign. May-Treanor called it a career after London, while Walsh Jennings kept going with April Ross, who she won a bronze medal with at the Rio Olympics with.
As for the “really rough year” Walsh Jennings was mentioning in her quote, it could be in reference to any number of things. It could be because of the injuries she suffered, the fact that she switch partners, or her stance against wearing face coverings during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Whatever the reason, the run, and her career, is likely over after this loss.