Kerri Walsh Jennings Bio And Facts
Kerri Walsh Jennings
Kerri Walsh Jennings is a famous Olympic volleyball player. She became the most decorated Olympic beach volleyball player after her bronze medal win at Rio in 2016. In addition to winning a collection of major beach volleyball competitions, she also had great success as an indoor volleyball player.
Her first Olympic appearance was during the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Walsh Jennings competed with Team USA’s indoor volleyball team where they took fourth place. Despite her success in indoor, her bigger victories came from competing in Beach Volleyball. Walsh Jennings competed in three Olympic Games with teammate Misty May-Treanor. The pair won gold medals at each of these Olympics and are believed to be one of the greatest beach volleyball pairs in history.
Kerri Walsh Jennings has proved to be one of the greatest female athletes of all time. She’s also pushed for the Association of Volleyball Professionals (the largest beach volleyball tour in the US) to pay the players a livable wage. She co-founded p1440 as a result of this mission.
- Born: August 15, 1978 (15-08-1978)
- Education: Stanford University ‘01
- Net Worth: $6 Million
- Occupation: Professional Beach Volleyball Player
- Height: 6’3
- Weight: 157 Pounds
- Position: Left Side, Hitter
- Years Active: 20
- Career Wins: 133 career tournament victories
- Nicknames: Six Feet of Sunshine
- Teams: USA
Beach Volleyball Career
Kerri Walsh Jennings has been a phenomenal volleyball player since high school where she led her team to three state championships. At Stanford she was a great overall player and recorded over 1500 kills, 1200 digs, and 500 blocks in her four years as a collegiate athlete. After competing in indoor volleyball in the 2000 Olympics, she turned her focus to beach volleyball. Walsh Jennings regularly competed in the US AVP Tour as well as the International FIVB Tour.
She first joined forces with Misty May-Treanor in 2001, and the two were quickly ranked first in the world by 2002. The pair had one of the longest winning streaks in volleyball history as they won 112 matches straight until losing in 2008 to US Olympic teammates in a competition.
Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor won gold medals at the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Olympics. After May-Treanor retired in 2012, Walsh Jennings won bronze in 2016 with April Ross. She did not appear in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, after failing to succeed in the qualifiers.
Titles and Awards
As one can imagine, the most decorated beach volleyball Olympian in the world has won many titles and awards throughout her career. Kerri’s first big award came when she was the first person to be named Gatorade’s National High School Volleyball Player of the Year in 1996. She was later the second college volleyball player of all time to be selected for the All-American Team all four years.
After this, Walsh went on to win a slew of awards while competing in beach volleyball tours. With the AVP she won the Best Offensive Player twice, Best Defensive Player once, Crocs Cup Champion three times, Most Valuable Player two times, and Team of the Year eight times. With the FIVB, she was named the Best Blocker seven times, Best Hitter five times, Best Offensive Player two times, Most Outstanding four times, Spokesperson five times, and Tour Champion once. She also won the Sportswoman of the Year Award in 2004 and 2006 with doubles partner Misty May-Treanor.
Kerri Walsh Jennings was born in San Jose to two very athletic parents. Her dad, Tim Walsh, was a minor league baseball player for the Oakland A’s and a semi-pro basketball player. Her mom, Margie Walsh, was also a talented volleyball player. Kerri Walsh Jennings also has one older brother and two younger sisters.
Walsh Jennings was a great athlete from a young age. In high school, she was a great volleyball player, as well as a great basketball player. She went on to play volleyball at Stanford while earning her degree in American Studies. She married another professional volleyball player, Casey Jennings, and the two have three kids together. Their oldest is Joseph, then Sundance was born a year later, and their youngest is Scout. Kerri was actually pregnant with Scout during her 2012 Olympic win. Their family lives in Manhattan Beach, California.
- In college, her volleyball team won 90% of the time and won the NCAA Championship twice.
- At the 2000 Olympics, Misty and Kerri’s family met and talked. This is where Misty first brought up the idea of them being partners.
- In high school, Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor actually competed against each other.
- Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor won 21 consecutive Olympic matches while playing doubles beach volleyball for 11 years.
- The two only lost one set in 2012 to Austria throughout their Olympic partnership.
- In the 2012 Olympics, May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings beat fellow USA teammates Jennifer Kessy and April Ross for the gold. After the match, Walsh Jennings famously asked Ross to be her partner and to compete at Rio.
- Her wedding ring has “Six Feet of Sunshine,” her nickname, engraved into it.
- She beat Misty May-Treanor’s record for most tournament wins of 112 in 2013, and currently holds a total of 133 victories.
Why did Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross stop playing together?
Just one year after the pair went to Rio together and won a bronze medal, the team split. This happened because in 2017 Walsh Jennings decided not to sign an exclusivity agreement with the AVP. She felt that this US tour limited volleyball players’ potential to grow and succeed in the volleyball circuit because it didn’t offer athletes high enough pay. Since April Ross signed the deal, the two couldn’t compete together and earn points that would help them qualify for the Olympics.
Has Kerri Walsh Jennings had any injuries?
Kerri Walsh Jennings has had a lot of shoulder problems throughout her athletic career. She actually had to get surgery on her shoulder five times. Her fifth surgery happened after her 2015 Rio Open. Once she was allowed to play again, she won gold at the Rio Grand Slam in March of 2016. Fans were worried about how well she would do in the 2016 Olympics after taking time off due to the injury. Her performance was admittedly not to par with her previous Olympic track record, however she still earned Olympic bronze.
Who did Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross lose to in Rio 2016?
At the 2016 Olympics, Walsh Jennings and Ross lost to Ágatha Bednarczuk and Bárbara Seixas from Brazil in the semi-finals match in two close sets. After this, the two went on to compete against another pair from Brazil, Larissa França and Talita Antunes. França and Antunes were actually the number one ranked team, but were upset by the pair from Germany that ended up winning. In the end, Walsh and Ross took home the Bronze in three sets.
Who is Kerri Walsh Jennings’ current doubles partner?
After splitting with April Ross in 2017, Walsh Jennings briefly competed with Nicole Branagh who she had played doubles with in 2010 as well. However, in 2018 Kerri Walsh Jennings began playing with Brooke Sweat. Brooke Sweat is a defensive specialist who has been named the Defensive Player of the Year four times while on the AVP tour. The duo failed to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, after losing their qualifying match against the Netherlands.