Kerri Walsh Jennings eyes ‘legend of legends’ partner for Olympic beach volleyball run

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Kerri Walsh Jennings wants to partner with 2000 Olympic indoor volleyball teammate Logan Tom for a beach volleyball bid for the 2024 Paris Games.

“I gave myself until June to figure out if I’m retired or not because I still have the fire in my heart,” the 43-year-old Walsh Jennings said on a podcast published last week. “If I come back, I want to play with the legend of all legends, who is Logan Tom.”

Tom, a 40-year-old, four-time Olympic indoor player now listed as a coach with Israel’s federation, has not replied to a message seeking comment last week to an email address associated with her as recently as 2016.

“I’m trying to get her to come out to the beach and go win Paris with me, but we’ll see,” said Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic champion with former partner Misty May-Treanor. “It would be my dream come true. … I just have always loved Logan for her heart, discipline and love of the game. … I know we would be magic out there, so we’ll see.

Walsh Jennings has not played a tournament since missing qualification for the Tokyo Olympics last June with partner Brooke Sweat by one spot. She said on the podcast that she’s not playing so far this year “because I’m recovering from some issues.”

“I played really bad all of 2021. For the first time ever in my whole career I had a really bad season,” Walsh Jennings said.

Attempts to reach Walsh Jennings through her agent over the last month have been unsuccessful.

Tom was a U.S. indoor standout, playing her last Olympics in 2012 and continuing on the club level into at least 2019.

“She’s like Misty,” Walsh Jennings said. “She can show up after not playing for 20 years and still kill everybody.”

Tom played 27 beach volleyball tournaments between the domestic AVP and international FIVB tours in 2006 and 2007 in the middle of her indoor career. She had five different beach partners, playing the most with three-time Olympian Holly McPeak, and reaching one AVP semifinal, according to BVBInfo.com.

Tom and Walsh Jennings were indoor teammates for one year Stanford in 1999 when Walsh Jennings was a senior and Tom was a freshman, then on the court together again at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

There is an opening in U.S. women’s beach volleyball for a new top team, at least in the short term. Tokyo gold medalist Alix Klineman has been out since undergoing surgery three months ago. Klineman’s partner, April Ross, started this season playing with veteran Emily Day.

The other Tokyo Olympic pair, Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil, split. Claes and new partner Betsi Flint took fourth in the biggest event so far this year, in Mexico last month.

Another new team, Kelley Kolinske and Sara Hughes, won an international tournament last week.

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Kerri Walsh Jennings eyes ‘legend of legends’ partner for Olympic beach volleyball run originally appeared on NBCSports.com