U.S. women's beach volleyball teams

The U.S. has two women's beach volleyball teams left in the competition. Will legendary duo Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor face compatriots April Ross and Jennifer Kessy in the gold medal match?

Trump listens as beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor speaks at the White House Sports and Fitness Day event.
An exercise in hypocrisy? Trump lectures America on fitness
Trump listens as beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor speaks at the White House Sports and Fitness Day event.
Trump listens as beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor speaks at the White House Sports and Fitness Day event.
An exercise in hypocrisy? Trump lectures America on fitness
Trump listens as beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor speaks at the White House Sports and Fitness Day event.
President Donald Trump, left, talks about former New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera, third from middle right, during the White House Sports and Fitness Day event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Ivanka Trump, beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor, middle right, and Lou Ferrigno, top right, listen. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Donald Trump, left, talks about former New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera, third from middle right, during the White House Sports and Fitness Day event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Ivanka Trump, beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor, middle right, and Lou Ferrigno, top right, listen. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Donald Trump, left, talks about former New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera, third from middle right, during the White House Sports and Fitness Day event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Ivanka Trump, beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor, middle right, and Lou Ferrigno, top right, listen. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Donald Trump, second from left, watches as kids race during the White House Sports and Fitness Day event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Trump is joined by, from left, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, former New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera, beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor, and University of Georgia football star Herschel Walker. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Donald Trump, second from left, watches as kids race during the White House Sports and Fitness Day event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Trump is joined by, from left, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, former New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera, beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor, and University of Georgia football star Herschel Walker. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Donald Trump, second from left, watches as kids race during the White House Sports and Fitness Day event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Trump is joined by, from left, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, former New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera, beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor, and University of Georgia football star Herschel Walker. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
From left, former New York Yankees baseball pitcher Mariano Rivera, retired professional beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor, and former football player Herschel Walker, attend White House Sports and Fitness Day on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, May 29, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
From left, former New York Yankees baseball pitcher Mariano Rivera, retired professional beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor, and former football player Herschel Walker, attend White House Sports and Fitness Day on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, May 29, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
From left, former New York Yankees baseball pitcher Mariano Rivera, retired professional beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor, and former football player Herschel Walker, attend White House Sports and Fitness Day on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, May 29, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Donald Trump listens as beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor speaks at the White House Sports and Fitness Day event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Ivanka Trump listens at right. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Donald Trump listens as beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor speaks at the White House Sports and Fitness Day event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Ivanka Trump listens at right. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Donald Trump listens as beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor speaks at the White House Sports and Fitness Day event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Ivanka Trump listens at right. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Donald Trump waits to start a race during the White House Sports and Fitness Day event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Trump is joined by, from left, Ivanka Trump, former New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera (partially hidden), beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor, and football star Herschel Walker. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Donald Trump waits to start a race during the White House Sports and Fitness Day event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Trump is joined by, from left, Ivanka Trump, former New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera (partially hidden), beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor, and football star Herschel Walker. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Donald Trump waits to start a race during the White House Sports and Fitness Day event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Trump is joined by, from left, Ivanka Trump, former New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera (partially hidden), beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor, and football star Herschel Walker. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings reacts while playing Brazil during the women's beach volleyball bronze medal match of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The five-time Olympian has announced plans for her new beach volleyball circuit that will bring a sports and music festival to eight cities. The p1440 series will open in September in San Jose, California, and then over the next four months visit Las Vegas, San Diego and Huntington Beach, California. Four stops in early 2019 are planned, including Chicago; the others were not announced. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Olympic great Walsh Jennings announces beach volleyball tour
FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings reacts while playing Brazil during the women's beach volleyball bronze medal match of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The five-time Olympian has announced plans for her new beach volleyball circuit that will bring a sports and music festival to eight cities. The p1440 series will open in September in San Jose, California, and then over the next four months visit Las Vegas, San Diego and Huntington Beach, California. Four stops in early 2019 are planned, including Chicago; the others were not announced. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings reacts while playing Brazil during the women's beach volleyball bronze medal match of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The five-time Olympian has announced plans for her new beach volleyball circuit that will bring a sports and music festival to eight cities. The p1440 series will open in September in San Jose, California, and then over the next four months visit Las Vegas, San Diego and Huntington Beach, California. Four stops in early 2019 are planned, including Chicago; the others were not announced. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings reacts while playing Brazil during the women's beach volleyball bronze medal match of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The five-time Olympian has announced plans for her new beach volleyball circuit that will bring a sports and music festival to eight cities. The p1440 series will open in September in San Jose, California, and then over the next four months visit Las Vegas, San Diego and Huntington Beach, California. Four stops in early 2019 are planned, including Chicago; the others were not announced. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings reacts while playing Brazil during the women's beach volleyball bronze medal match of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The five-time Olympian has announced plans for her new beach volleyball circuit that will bring a sports and music festival to eight cities. The p1440 series will open in September in San Jose, California, and then over the next four months visit Las Vegas, San Diego and Huntington Beach, California. Four stops in early 2019 are planned, including Chicago; the others were not announced. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
The beach volleyball gold medalist has her own little volleyball team -- and they met the whole squad!
Olympian Misty May-Treanor Welcomes Twins: See the Sweet Pic!
The beach volleyball gold medalist has her own little volleyball team -- and they met the whole squad!
Professional beach volleyball player April Ross met with some young Chicago student athletes who had helped raise money to find a cure for breast cancer.
Young athletes meet pro beach volleyball player April Ross after raising money for breast cancer
Professional beach volleyball player April Ross met with some young Chicago student athletes who had helped raise money to find a cure for breast cancer.
Professional beach volleyball player April Ross met with some young Chicago student athletes who had helped raise money to find a cure for breast cancer.
Young athletes meet pro beach volleyball player April Ross after raising money for breast cancer
Professional beach volleyball player April Ross met with some young Chicago student athletes who had helped raise money to find a cure for breast cancer.
Professional beach volleyball player April Ross met with some young Chicago student athletes who had helped raise money to find a cure for breast cancer.
Young athletes meet pro beach volleyball player April Ross after raising money for breast cancer
Professional beach volleyball player April Ross met with some young Chicago student athletes who had helped raise money to find a cure for breast cancer.
Professional beach volleyball player April Ross met with some young Chicago student athletes who had helped raise money to find a cure for breast cancer.
Young athletes meet pro beach volleyball player April Ross after raising money for breast cancer
Professional beach volleyball player April Ross met with some young Chicago student athletes who had helped raise money to find a cure for breast cancer.
United States' Lauren Fendrick, left, and April Ross, react during the gold medal match against Germany's team with Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States' Lauren Fendrick, left, and April Ross, react during the gold medal match against Germany's team with Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States' Lauren Fendrick, left, and April Ross, react during the gold medal match against Germany's team with Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States' April Ross signals during the women's gold medal match against Germany's Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States' April Ross signals during the women's gold medal match against Germany's Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States' April Ross signals during the women's gold medal match against Germany's Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, right, and Laura Ludwig, celebrate with the trophy after winning the women's final against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, right, and Laura Ludwig, celebrate with the trophy after winning the women's final against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, right, and Laura Ludwig, celebrate with the trophy after winning the women's final against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, right and Laura Ludwig, kiss the trophy after winning the women's gold medal match against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, right and Laura Ludwig, kiss the trophy after winning the women's gold medal match against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, right and Laura Ludwig, kiss the trophy after winning the women's gold medal match against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, left, and Laura Ludwig, celebrate after winning the women's gold medal match against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, left, and Laura Ludwig, celebrate after winning the women's gold medal match against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, left, and Laura Ludwig, celebrate after winning the women's gold medal match against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, left, and Laura Ludwig, celebrate after winning the women's gold medal match against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, left, and Laura Ludwig, celebrate after winning the women's gold medal match against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, left, and Laura Ludwig, celebrate after winning the women's gold medal match against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, left, and Laura Ludwig, celebrate after winning the women's gold medal match against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, left, and Laura Ludwig, celebrate after winning the women's gold medal match against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, left, and Laura Ludwig, celebrate after winning the women's gold medal match against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, left, and Laura Ludwig, celebrate after winning the women's gold medal match against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, left, and Laura Ludwig, celebrate after winning the women's gold medal match against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Germany's Kira Walkenhorst, left, and Laura Ludwig, celebrate after winning the women's gold medal match against the US team with April Ross and Lauren Fendrick at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - AUGUST 05: Laura Ludwig (C) of Germany is sprayed by champagne from April Ross (L) of USA and Larissa Maestrini (R) of Brazil after the medal ceremony for the Women's Final on August 05, 2017 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for FIVB)
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships - Day 9
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - AUGUST 05: Laura Ludwig (C) of Germany is sprayed by champagne from April Ross (L) of USA and Larissa Maestrini (R) of Brazil after the medal ceremony for the Women's Final on August 05, 2017 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for FIVB)
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - AUGUST 05: Silver medalist Lauren Fendrick (L) and April Ross pose during the medal ceremony for the Women's Final on August 05, 2017 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for FIVB)
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships - Day 9
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - AUGUST 05: Silver medalist Lauren Fendrick (L) and April Ross pose during the medal ceremony for the Women's Final on August 05, 2017 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for FIVB)
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - AUGUST 05: (L-R) Silver medalist Lauren Fendrick and April Ross of USA Gold medalist Kira Walkenhorst and Laura Ludwig of Germany Bronze medalist Larissa Maestrini and Talita Antunes of Brazil pose for the photo during the medal ceremony for the Women's Final on August 05, 2017 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for FIVB)
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships - Day 9
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - AUGUST 05: (L-R) Silver medalist Lauren Fendrick and April Ross of USA Gold medalist Kira Walkenhorst and Laura Ludwig of Germany Bronze medalist Larissa Maestrini and Talita Antunes of Brazil pose for the photo during the medal ceremony for the Women's Final on August 05, 2017 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for FIVB)
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - AUGUST 05: (L-R) Silver medalist Lauren Fendrick and April Ross of USA Gold medalist Kira Walkenhorst and Laura Ludwig of Germany Bronze medalist Larissa Maestrini and Talita Antunes of Brazil pose for the photo during the medal ceremony for the Women's Final on August 05, 2017 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for FIVB)
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships - Day 9
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - AUGUST 05: (L-R) Silver medalist Lauren Fendrick and April Ross of USA Gold medalist Kira Walkenhorst and Laura Ludwig of Germany Bronze medalist Larissa Maestrini and Talita Antunes of Brazil pose for the photo during the medal ceremony for the Women's Final on August 05, 2017 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for FIVB)
United States's April Ross signals during the match against United States's team at the women's semi final the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States's April Ross signals during the match against United States's team at the women's semi final the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States's April Ross signals during the match against United States's team at the women's semi final the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - AUGUST 04: Lauren Fendrick (L) and April Ross (R) of USA celebrate after the Women's Semi Final match between USA and Canada on August 4, 2017 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for FIVB)
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships - Day 8
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - AUGUST 04: Lauren Fendrick (L) and April Ross (R) of USA celebrate after the Women's Semi Final match between USA and Canada on August 4, 2017 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for FIVB)
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - AUGUST 04: April Ross of USA serves the ball during the Women's Semi Final match between USA and Canada on August 4, 2017 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for FIVB)
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships - Day 8
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - AUGUST 04: April Ross of USA serves the ball during the Women's Semi Final match between USA and Canada on August 4, 2017 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for FIVB)
<p><strong><em>This piece originally appears in the August 2017 issue of SI Kids. <a href="https://subscription.sikids.com/storefront/subscribe-to-si-kids/site/sk-semtstgrn0314.html?link=1022765&fpa_oc=SK+SEM+Control+Offer" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Subscribe here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Subscribe here</a>. </em></strong></p><p>What's it like cooking for a two-time NBA MVP? Luckily for Steph Curry, his wife, Ayesha, is a gourmet chef who loves preparing food so much that she started a meal kit company, <a href="http://cookhomemade.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Homemade Kids" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Homemade Kids</a>.</p><p>"Parmesan chicken tenders are so easy and delicious," Ayesha says. "Chicken Parmesan is one of Stephen's favorite meals for me to make. This version is a play on our family favorite, and our kids can join in on making it and have fun! It is served alongside the Game Day Pasta Sauce, where I sneak in delicious veggies to create a flavorful sauce. It's the perfect complement."</p><p><em><strong>Ayesha Curry's Parmesan Chicken Tenders</strong></em></p><p><em>½ cup all-purpose flour</em><br><em>2 eggs</em><br><em>1 cup Italian bread crumbs</em><br><em>½ cup grated Parmesan </em><em>cheese</em><br><em>1</em><em> pound chicken tenders</em><br><em>¼ teaspoon salt</em><br><em>¼ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper</em><br><em>1 teaspoon dried basil</em><br><em>1 teaspoon smoked paprika</em></p><p>?</p><p><strong><em>Game Day Pasta Sauce</em></strong></p><p><em>2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil</em><br><em>½ cup finely diced yellow onion</em><br><em>Kosher salt</em><br><em>Freshly-ground black pepper</em><br><em>4 garlic cloves, minced</em><br><em>1 globe eggplant, cut into cubes (about 6 cups)</em><br><em>1½ cup dry red wine</em><br><em>2 bay leaves</em><br><em>2 teaspoons tomato paste</em><br><em>1 (13.5-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed with a spoon or your hands, including liquid</em><br><em>Pinch of dried thyme</em><br><em>2 teaspoons dark sugar</em></p><p>• Preheat oven to 450 degrees.<br>• Line baking sheet with parchment paper.<br>• Set out three bowls. Mix Parmesan, bread crumbs, paprika, and basil in the first bowl. (To amp up the nutrition, you can substitute flax seeds for the bread crumbs.)<br>• Mix flour, salt, and pepper in the second bowl. Stir to combine.<br>• Crack eggs into a bowl and lightly beat them.<br>• Dip chicken first into flour, then egg mix, and then dredge in bread crumb mixture. Repeat with all the chicken.<br>• Place coated chicken on prepared baking sheet. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes (turning halfway through) until golden brown and the juices run clear.<br>• Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened, about three minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.<br>• Add the eggplant and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the eggplant begins to soften, about three minutes.<br>• Add the wine and bay leaves, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook until the wine has reduced by half, about five minutes.<br>• Stir in tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in the tomatoes and season with thyme, brown sugar, and one teaspoon kosher salt.<br>• Cook, simmering gently over medium-low heat, until the tomatoes have thickened enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon, about five minutes. Be sure to crush the tomatoes with a wooden spoon if any large chunks remain. Fish out the bay leaves and discard.</p><p>?</p><p><em><strong>More athletes dish on their preferred foods:</strong></em></p><p><strong>Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians: </strong>Lindor is a major league shortstop and a 23-year-old man. That doesn't mean he's too big for his mom's cooking. During the season, his mother, Maria, often visits his home in Cleveland. When Lindor returns from a road trip, she greets him with his favorite dish: homemade lasagna. Maria, who is from Puerto Rico, puts a Latin twist on the Italian meal. Among the seasonings she uses to flavor the meat are sofrito and adobo. And the dish includes three cheeses: white cheddar, mozzarella, and—here's the secret—cream cheese instead of the usual ricotta. "I love the way she makes it," Lindor says. "It's always huge whenever you spend time on the road and you come back and your mom is cooking for you."</p><p>?</p><p><strong>Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm:</strong> "My mom makes these chicken riggies that are off the chart. She usually makes it when I have a team over or my family gets together because it's a bigger dish. It's rigatoni noodles with chicken and a tomato sauce. She can add red pepper flakes to make it spicier. She puts diced tomatoes in it, and she can add peppers and all types of things. I made it for my team when I was at UConn because they'd had it before—my mom would bring me leftovers that she'd frozen, and the team came to my house one time and she made it. I don't want to say it was good as my mom's, but they all approved."</p><p><strong>Madison Keys, tennis player:</strong> "I really enjoy kale and have it often. I like to make kale chips for a healthy, crunchy snack. It makes kale seem less like a vegetable. Add a little salt and bake it for 10 to 15 minutes."</p><p><strong>Eric Kendricks, Vikings LB: </strong>"I used to hate drinking water, but now I can't live without it. I used to not drink water because it didn't taste like anything. I learned that other drinks are full of sugar and caused me to cramp during physical activity. Literally, your body can't survive without water, and it is healthy to stay hydrated. Drink up!"</p><p><strong>April Ross, Pro beach volleyball player and two-time Olympic medalist:</strong> "The weirdest food I ever ate was cow tongue, my sophomore year of high school for extra credit in Spanish class. I thought it was very meaty, but I wouldn't eat it again unless there was something in it for me."</p><p><strong>Dexter Fowler, Cardinals CF:</strong> "I'm obsessed with the yellowtail sashimi at Nobu. It's fresh; it's the right flavor. It's perfect. We probably get nine orders of it every time we go. It's usually just my wife and me, but my three-year-old daughter, Naya, goes too. Naya loves sushi."</p>
The Sports Dish: What Steph Curry, Francisco Lindor, More Athletes Love to Eat

This piece originally appears in the August 2017 issue of SI Kids. Subscribe here.

What's it like cooking for a two-time NBA MVP? Luckily for Steph Curry, his wife, Ayesha, is a gourmet chef who loves preparing food so much that she started a meal kit company, Homemade Kids.

"Parmesan chicken tenders are so easy and delicious," Ayesha says. "Chicken Parmesan is one of Stephen's favorite meals for me to make. This version is a play on our family favorite, and our kids can join in on making it and have fun! It is served alongside the Game Day Pasta Sauce, where I sneak in delicious veggies to create a flavorful sauce. It's the perfect complement."

Ayesha Curry's Parmesan Chicken Tenders

½ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound chicken tenders
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

?

Game Day Pasta Sauce

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup finely diced yellow onion
Kosher salt
Freshly-ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 globe eggplant, cut into cubes (about 6 cups)
1½ cup dry red wine
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 (13.5-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed with a spoon or your hands, including liquid
Pinch of dried thyme
2 teaspoons dark sugar

• Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
• Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
• Set out three bowls. Mix Parmesan, bread crumbs, paprika, and basil in the first bowl. (To amp up the nutrition, you can substitute flax seeds for the bread crumbs.)
• Mix flour, salt, and pepper in the second bowl. Stir to combine.
• Crack eggs into a bowl and lightly beat them.
• Dip chicken first into flour, then egg mix, and then dredge in bread crumb mixture. Repeat with all the chicken.
• Place coated chicken on prepared baking sheet. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes (turning halfway through) until golden brown and the juices run clear.
• Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened, about three minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
• Add the eggplant and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the eggplant begins to soften, about three minutes.
• Add the wine and bay leaves, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook until the wine has reduced by half, about five minutes.
• Stir in tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in the tomatoes and season with thyme, brown sugar, and one teaspoon kosher salt.
• Cook, simmering gently over medium-low heat, until the tomatoes have thickened enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon, about five minutes. Be sure to crush the tomatoes with a wooden spoon if any large chunks remain. Fish out the bay leaves and discard.

?

More athletes dish on their preferred foods:

Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians: Lindor is a major league shortstop and a 23-year-old man. That doesn't mean he's too big for his mom's cooking. During the season, his mother, Maria, often visits his home in Cleveland. When Lindor returns from a road trip, she greets him with his favorite dish: homemade lasagna. Maria, who is from Puerto Rico, puts a Latin twist on the Italian meal. Among the seasonings she uses to flavor the meat are sofrito and adobo. And the dish includes three cheeses: white cheddar, mozzarella, and—here's the secret—cream cheese instead of the usual ricotta. "I love the way she makes it," Lindor says. "It's always huge whenever you spend time on the road and you come back and your mom is cooking for you."

?

Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm: "My mom makes these chicken riggies that are off the chart. She usually makes it when I have a team over or my family gets together because it's a bigger dish. It's rigatoni noodles with chicken and a tomato sauce. She can add red pepper flakes to make it spicier. She puts diced tomatoes in it, and she can add peppers and all types of things. I made it for my team when I was at UConn because they'd had it before—my mom would bring me leftovers that she'd frozen, and the team came to my house one time and she made it. I don't want to say it was good as my mom's, but they all approved."

Madison Keys, tennis player: "I really enjoy kale and have it often. I like to make kale chips for a healthy, crunchy snack. It makes kale seem less like a vegetable. Add a little salt and bake it for 10 to 15 minutes."

Eric Kendricks, Vikings LB: "I used to hate drinking water, but now I can't live without it. I used to not drink water because it didn't taste like anything. I learned that other drinks are full of sugar and caused me to cramp during physical activity. Literally, your body can't survive without water, and it is healthy to stay hydrated. Drink up!"

April Ross, Pro beach volleyball player and two-time Olympic medalist: "The weirdest food I ever ate was cow tongue, my sophomore year of high school for extra credit in Spanish class. I thought it was very meaty, but I wouldn't eat it again unless there was something in it for me."

Dexter Fowler, Cardinals CF: "I'm obsessed with the yellowtail sashimi at Nobu. It's fresh; it's the right flavor. It's perfect. We probably get nine orders of it every time we go. It's usually just my wife and me, but my three-year-old daughter, Naya, goes too. Naya loves sushi."

<p><strong><em>This piece originally appears in the August 2017 issue of SI Kids. <a href="https://subscription.sikids.com/storefront/subscribe-to-si-kids/site/sk-semtstgrn0314.html?link=1022765&fpa_oc=SK+SEM+Control+Offer" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Subscribe here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Subscribe here</a>. </em></strong></p><p>What's it like cooking for a two-time NBA MVP? Luckily for Steph Curry, his wife, Ayesha, is a gourmet chef who loves preparing food so much that she started a meal kit company, <a href="http://cookhomemade.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Homemade Kids" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Homemade Kids</a>.</p><p>"Parmesan chicken tenders are so easy and delicious," Ayesha says. "Chicken Parmesan is one of Stephen's favorite meals for me to make. This version is a play on our family favorite, and our kids can join in on making it and have fun! It is served alongside the Game Day Pasta Sauce, where I sneak in delicious veggies to create a flavorful sauce. It's the perfect complement."</p><p><em><strong>Ayesha Curry's Parmesan Chicken Tenders</strong></em></p><p><em>½ cup all-purpose flour</em><br><em>2 eggs</em><br><em>1 cup Italian bread crumbs</em><br><em>½ cup grated Parmesan </em><em>cheese</em><br><em>1</em><em> pound chicken tenders</em><br><em>¼ teaspoon salt</em><br><em>¼ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper</em><br><em>1 teaspoon dried basil</em><br><em>1 teaspoon smoked paprika</em></p><p>?</p><p><strong><em>Game Day Pasta Sauce</em></strong></p><p><em>2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil</em><br><em>½ cup finely diced yellow onion</em><br><em>Kosher salt</em><br><em>Freshly-ground black pepper</em><br><em>4 garlic cloves, minced</em><br><em>1 globe eggplant, cut into cubes (about 6 cups)</em><br><em>1½ cup dry red wine</em><br><em>2 bay leaves</em><br><em>2 teaspoons tomato paste</em><br><em>1 (13.5-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed with a spoon or your hands, including liquid</em><br><em>Pinch of dried thyme</em><br><em>2 teaspoons dark sugar</em></p><p>• Preheat oven to 450 degrees.<br>• Line baking sheet with parchment paper.<br>• Set out three bowls. Mix Parmesan, bread crumbs, paprika, and basil in the first bowl. (To amp up the nutrition, you can substitute flax seeds for the bread crumbs.)<br>• Mix flour, salt, and pepper in the second bowl. Stir to combine.<br>• Crack eggs into a bowl and lightly beat them.<br>• Dip chicken first into flour, then egg mix, and then dredge in bread crumb mixture. Repeat with all the chicken.<br>• Place coated chicken on prepared baking sheet. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes (turning halfway through) until golden brown and the juices run clear.<br>• Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened, about three minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.<br>• Add the eggplant and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the eggplant begins to soften, about three minutes.<br>• Add the wine and bay leaves, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook until the wine has reduced by half, about five minutes.<br>• Stir in tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in the tomatoes and season with thyme, brown sugar, and one teaspoon kosher salt.<br>• Cook, simmering gently over medium-low heat, until the tomatoes have thickened enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon, about five minutes. Be sure to crush the tomatoes with a wooden spoon if any large chunks remain. Fish out the bay leaves and discard.</p><p>?</p><p><em><strong>More athletes dish on their preferred foods:</strong></em></p><p><strong>Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians: </strong>Lindor is a major league shortstop and a 23-year-old man. That doesn't mean he's too big for his mom's cooking. During the season, his mother, Maria, often visits his home in Cleveland. When Lindor returns from a road trip, she greets him with his favorite dish: homemade lasagna. Maria, who is from Puerto Rico, puts a Latin twist on the Italian meal. Among the seasonings she uses to flavor the meat are sofrito and adobo. And the dish includes three cheeses: white cheddar, mozzarella, and—here's the secret—cream cheese instead of the usual ricotta. "I love the way she makes it," Lindor says. "It's always huge whenever you spend time on the road and you come back and your mom is cooking for you."</p><p>?</p><p><strong>Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm:</strong> "My mom makes these chicken riggies that are off the chart. She usually makes it when I have a team over or my family gets together because it's a bigger dish. It's rigatoni noodles with chicken and a tomato sauce. She can add red pepper flakes to make it spicier. She puts diced tomatoes in it, and she can add peppers and all types of things. I made it for my team when I was at UConn because they'd had it before—my mom would bring me leftovers that she'd frozen, and the team came to my house one time and she made it. I don't want to say it was good as my mom's, but they all approved."</p><p><strong>Madison Keys, tennis player:</strong> "I really enjoy kale and have it often. I like to make kale chips for a healthy, crunchy snack. It makes kale seem less like a vegetable. Add a little salt and bake it for 10 to 15 minutes."</p><p><strong>Eric Kendricks, Vikings LB: </strong>"I used to hate drinking water, but now I can't live without it. I used to not drink water because it didn't taste like anything. I learned that other drinks are full of sugar and caused me to cramp during physical activity. Literally, your body can't survive without water, and it is healthy to stay hydrated. Drink up!"</p><p><strong>April Ross, Pro beach volleyball player and two-time Olympic medalist:</strong> "The weirdest food I ever ate was cow tongue, my sophomore year of high school for extra credit in Spanish class. I thought it was very meaty, but I wouldn't eat it again unless there was something in it for me."</p><p><strong>Dexter Fowler, Cardinals CF:</strong> "I'm obsessed with the yellowtail sashimi at Nobu. It's fresh; it's the right flavor. It's perfect. We probably get nine orders of it every time we go. It's usually just my wife and me, but my three-year-old daughter, Naya, goes too. Naya loves sushi."</p>
The Sports Dish: What Steph Curry, Francisco Lindor, More Athletes Love to Eat

This piece originally appears in the August 2017 issue of SI Kids. Subscribe here.

What's it like cooking for a two-time NBA MVP? Luckily for Steph Curry, his wife, Ayesha, is a gourmet chef who loves preparing food so much that she started a meal kit company, Homemade Kids.

"Parmesan chicken tenders are so easy and delicious," Ayesha says. "Chicken Parmesan is one of Stephen's favorite meals for me to make. This version is a play on our family favorite, and our kids can join in on making it and have fun! It is served alongside the Game Day Pasta Sauce, where I sneak in delicious veggies to create a flavorful sauce. It's the perfect complement."

Ayesha Curry's Parmesan Chicken Tenders

½ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound chicken tenders
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

?

Game Day Pasta Sauce

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup finely diced yellow onion
Kosher salt
Freshly-ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 globe eggplant, cut into cubes (about 6 cups)
1½ cup dry red wine
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 (13.5-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed with a spoon or your hands, including liquid
Pinch of dried thyme
2 teaspoons dark sugar

• Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
• Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
• Set out three bowls. Mix Parmesan, bread crumbs, paprika, and basil in the first bowl. (To amp up the nutrition, you can substitute flax seeds for the bread crumbs.)
• Mix flour, salt, and pepper in the second bowl. Stir to combine.
• Crack eggs into a bowl and lightly beat them.
• Dip chicken first into flour, then egg mix, and then dredge in bread crumb mixture. Repeat with all the chicken.
• Place coated chicken on prepared baking sheet. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes (turning halfway through) until golden brown and the juices run clear.
• Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened, about three minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
• Add the eggplant and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the eggplant begins to soften, about three minutes.
• Add the wine and bay leaves, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook until the wine has reduced by half, about five minutes.
• Stir in tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in the tomatoes and season with thyme, brown sugar, and one teaspoon kosher salt.
• Cook, simmering gently over medium-low heat, until the tomatoes have thickened enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon, about five minutes. Be sure to crush the tomatoes with a wooden spoon if any large chunks remain. Fish out the bay leaves and discard.

?

More athletes dish on their preferred foods:

Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians: Lindor is a major league shortstop and a 23-year-old man. That doesn't mean he's too big for his mom's cooking. During the season, his mother, Maria, often visits his home in Cleveland. When Lindor returns from a road trip, she greets him with his favorite dish: homemade lasagna. Maria, who is from Puerto Rico, puts a Latin twist on the Italian meal. Among the seasonings she uses to flavor the meat are sofrito and adobo. And the dish includes three cheeses: white cheddar, mozzarella, and—here's the secret—cream cheese instead of the usual ricotta. "I love the way she makes it," Lindor says. "It's always huge whenever you spend time on the road and you come back and your mom is cooking for you."

?

Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm: "My mom makes these chicken riggies that are off the chart. She usually makes it when I have a team over or my family gets together because it's a bigger dish. It's rigatoni noodles with chicken and a tomato sauce. She can add red pepper flakes to make it spicier. She puts diced tomatoes in it, and she can add peppers and all types of things. I made it for my team when I was at UConn because they'd had it before—my mom would bring me leftovers that she'd frozen, and the team came to my house one time and she made it. I don't want to say it was good as my mom's, but they all approved."

Madison Keys, tennis player: "I really enjoy kale and have it often. I like to make kale chips for a healthy, crunchy snack. It makes kale seem less like a vegetable. Add a little salt and bake it for 10 to 15 minutes."

Eric Kendricks, Vikings LB: "I used to hate drinking water, but now I can't live without it. I used to not drink water because it didn't taste like anything. I learned that other drinks are full of sugar and caused me to cramp during physical activity. Literally, your body can't survive without water, and it is healthy to stay hydrated. Drink up!"

April Ross, Pro beach volleyball player and two-time Olympic medalist: "The weirdest food I ever ate was cow tongue, my sophomore year of high school for extra credit in Spanish class. I thought it was very meaty, but I wouldn't eat it again unless there was something in it for me."

Dexter Fowler, Cardinals CF: "I'm obsessed with the yellowtail sashimi at Nobu. It's fresh; it's the right flavor. It's perfect. We probably get nine orders of it every time we go. It's usually just my wife and me, but my three-year-old daughter, Naya, goes too. Naya loves sushi."

United States's April Ross signals during the match against Czech Republic's team during the women's round of 16 at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States's April Ross signals during the match against Czech Republic's team during the women's round of 16 at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States's April Ross signals during the match against Czech Republic's team during the women's round of 16 at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States's April Ross and Lauren Fendrick, from left, compete during their match against Czech Republic's team during the women's round of 16 at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States's April Ross and Lauren Fendrick, from left, compete during their match against Czech Republic's team during the women's round of 16 at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States's April Ross and Lauren Fendrick, from left, compete during their match against Czech Republic's team during the women's round of 16 at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States's April Ross dives for a ball while playing against Czech Republic's team during the women's round of 16 at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States's April Ross dives for a ball while playing against Czech Republic's team during the women's round of 16 at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States's April Ross dives for a ball while playing against Czech Republic's team during the women's round of 16 at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - JULY 31: Louise Bawden (R) of Australia reacts near April Ross (L) of USA during the Women's Pool K Main draw match between Australia and USA on July 31, 2017 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for FIVB)
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships - Day 4
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - JULY 31: Louise Bawden (R) of Australia reacts near April Ross (L) of USA during the Women's Pool K Main draw match between Australia and USA on July 31, 2017 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for FIVB)
United States's April Ross and Lauren Fendrick from left, react during the match against Australia's team at the women's pool play at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, July 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States's April Ross and Lauren Fendrick from left, react during the match against Australia's team at the women's pool play at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, July 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States's April Ross and Lauren Fendrick from left, react during the match against Australia's team at the women's pool play at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, July 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States's April Ross and Lauren Fendrick, from left, react during the match against China's tean at the women's pool play at the Beach Volleyball Worlds Championships in Vienna, Austria, Friday, July 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States's April Ross and Lauren Fendrick, from left, react during the match against China's tean at the women's pool play at the Beach Volleyball Worlds Championships in Vienna, Austria, Friday, July 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
United States's April Ross and Lauren Fendrick, from left, react during the match against China's tean at the women's pool play at the Beach Volleyball Worlds Championships in Vienna, Austria, Friday, July 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - JULY 28: Fan Wang (R) of China spike the ball over April Ross (L) of USA during the Women's Pool K Main draw match between USA and China on July 28, 2017 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for FIVB)
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships - Day 1
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - JULY 28: Fan Wang (R) of China spike the ball over April Ross (L) of USA during the Women's Pool K Main draw match between USA and China on July 28, 2017 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for FIVB)
Beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings arrives at the ESPYS at the Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, July 12, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings arrives at the ESPYS at the Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, July 12, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings arrives at the ESPYS at the Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, July 12, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Professional beach volleyball player April Ross speaks at the 15th annual High School Athlete of the Year Awards at the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, in Marina del Rey, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Professional beach volleyball player April Ross speaks at the 15th annual High School Athlete of the Year Awards at the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, in Marina del Rey, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Professional beach volleyball player April Ross speaks at the 15th annual High School Athlete of the Year Awards at the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, in Marina del Rey, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
<p><strong>What drew you to the sport of beach volleyball?</strong> To be honest, my soccer team kind of folded. The girls didn’t come back, so I didn’t have a soccer team to play on. And I needed a new sport, a new team, and my dad suggested volleyball. I didn’t think I would like it, but I went, and a lot of my friends were playing, and I just fell in love with the sport. I had a lot of fun doing it, so that’s why I stuck with it. <strong>You led USC to the national championship twice. How did that help shape your career?</strong> It was a big confidence boost. We were the best team in college. And we worked very hard. So I saw how much hard work went into winning. We worked really long and hard every day to win those national championships, so I think that work ethic is now ingrained in me. <strong>You’ve been to the Olympics twice, in 2012 and 2016. What is the Olympic experience like?</strong> For me, it’s the ultimate in sport. And it’s the ultimate in beach volleyball to get to go. It’s the highest level you can achieve as a beach volleyball player, so it’s a huge honor to qualify, and then to go for the United States. It’s the closest I’m going to get to serving my country, in a way. And so you feel that obligation to go out there and leave your heart on the court. It’s a very emotional experience. <strong>You lost to Kerri Walsh-Jennings and Misty May-Treanor in the finals in 2012. Did that add to the pressure of trying to replace May-Treanor when you partnered with Walsh-Jennings?</strong> I never felt any pressure to replace Misty. When I got together with Kerri we were just a completely new team. Just like I would have been a completely new team with anybody else I would have partnered with. <strong>What was your favorite part of the Olympics that wasn’t in the public eye?</strong> You know, I really didn’t do much in Rio. It was just like kind of like sleep, eat, compete. I trained a little bit. There were all the different houses, like the sponsors have different houses where all the athletes can go and hang out. So I got to hang out with my family at the Team USA house or the Oakley house, and that was cool. <strong>Tell me about your new partnership with Lauren Fendrick. What do you think are some of your strengths and weaknesses as a team?</strong> Lauren and I have been really good friends for a long time. She came to my wedding; I was in her wedding. And I really respect her as a blocker. So for me, it was a no-brainer to pair with her. And I think our strength is definitely our defense. She’s a great blocker, and I can run around behind her and dig balls. I think our serving is really good. Our weakness might only be that we’re a new team, and we need to get in a rhythm <strong>Going back a little bit, what was it like to play with your longtime friend Whitney Pavlik and win the Austin Open with her?</strong> It was amazing. I think Whitney might be taking the rest of the summer off, so I knew that might be her last tournament. I was really happy that we got to go play together and especially win. <strong>So, you’re in Manhattan. It’s not exactly known for its beach volleyball—it’s more urban. What’s it like to play here?</strong> I love it. You know we play on the natural beaches in California, and that’s amazing. But for me, other than that, New York is the best place to play. We’re surrounded by water, and New York is one of my favorite places to be anyway. So many great places to eat, and walk around and see, and all that stuff. <strong>How many more Olympics would you like to play?</strong> Definitely one. And if Los Angeles gets the Olympics in 2024, then possibly two. <strong>And just a few questions about the match. You did have the incident when you dislocated your toe, unfortunately. How much do you think that affected the championship match? And how’s it feeling now?</strong> It still feels pretty bad. So because I hurt my toe, Lauren and I switched sides of the court. So I think people didn't know what to expect from us. And I think we had to play a little bit differently. So I think that was hard for the other team to adjust and figure out what we were going to do. But Lauren had to do a lot more than she usually does. <strong>You were really vocal throughout the match. You could be heard by the fans, firing your team up. What kind of effect do you think that had on the match, especially coming back in the first set?</strong> Well, I think Lauren was looking to me, like: How do I feel? Was my toe hurting too much? So for me to be vocal and energetic, I think that encouraged her that I was feeling O.K. and kind of kept our team spirits up. <strong>What are your thoughts on the new rule that you have to be serving to win?</strong> At first I didn’t like it too much. But I think the more that I play with it, I think it makes me better, and I think it makes the teams better. We have to fight for that last point. You have to dig in deep and play really well to get that last point. So it’s growing on me, for sure.</p><p><em>Photograph by Henry Mode</em></p>
Beach Volleyball Player April Ross Talks About Rio, NYC, and Her Olympic Plans

What drew you to the sport of beach volleyball? To be honest, my soccer team kind of folded. The girls didn’t come back, so I didn’t have a soccer team to play on. And I needed a new sport, a new team, and my dad suggested volleyball. I didn’t think I would like it, but I went, and a lot of my friends were playing, and I just fell in love with the sport. I had a lot of fun doing it, so that’s why I stuck with it. You led USC to the national championship twice. How did that help shape your career? It was a big confidence boost. We were the best team in college. And we worked very hard. So I saw how much hard work went into winning. We worked really long and hard every day to win those national championships, so I think that work ethic is now ingrained in me. You’ve been to the Olympics twice, in 2012 and 2016. What is the Olympic experience like? For me, it’s the ultimate in sport. And it’s the ultimate in beach volleyball to get to go. It’s the highest level you can achieve as a beach volleyball player, so it’s a huge honor to qualify, and then to go for the United States. It’s the closest I’m going to get to serving my country, in a way. And so you feel that obligation to go out there and leave your heart on the court. It’s a very emotional experience. You lost to Kerri Walsh-Jennings and Misty May-Treanor in the finals in 2012. Did that add to the pressure of trying to replace May-Treanor when you partnered with Walsh-Jennings? I never felt any pressure to replace Misty. When I got together with Kerri we were just a completely new team. Just like I would have been a completely new team with anybody else I would have partnered with. What was your favorite part of the Olympics that wasn’t in the public eye? You know, I really didn’t do much in Rio. It was just like kind of like sleep, eat, compete. I trained a little bit. There were all the different houses, like the sponsors have different houses where all the athletes can go and hang out. So I got to hang out with my family at the Team USA house or the Oakley house, and that was cool. Tell me about your new partnership with Lauren Fendrick. What do you think are some of your strengths and weaknesses as a team? Lauren and I have been really good friends for a long time. She came to my wedding; I was in her wedding. And I really respect her as a blocker. So for me, it was a no-brainer to pair with her. And I think our strength is definitely our defense. She’s a great blocker, and I can run around behind her and dig balls. I think our serving is really good. Our weakness might only be that we’re a new team, and we need to get in a rhythm Going back a little bit, what was it like to play with your longtime friend Whitney Pavlik and win the Austin Open with her? It was amazing. I think Whitney might be taking the rest of the summer off, so I knew that might be her last tournament. I was really happy that we got to go play together and especially win. So, you’re in Manhattan. It’s not exactly known for its beach volleyball—it’s more urban. What’s it like to play here? I love it. You know we play on the natural beaches in California, and that’s amazing. But for me, other than that, New York is the best place to play. We’re surrounded by water, and New York is one of my favorite places to be anyway. So many great places to eat, and walk around and see, and all that stuff. How many more Olympics would you like to play? Definitely one. And if Los Angeles gets the Olympics in 2024, then possibly two. And just a few questions about the match. You did have the incident when you dislocated your toe, unfortunately. How much do you think that affected the championship match? And how’s it feeling now? It still feels pretty bad. So because I hurt my toe, Lauren and I switched sides of the court. So I think people didn't know what to expect from us. And I think we had to play a little bit differently. So I think that was hard for the other team to adjust and figure out what we were going to do. But Lauren had to do a lot more than she usually does. You were really vocal throughout the match. You could be heard by the fans, firing your team up. What kind of effect do you think that had on the match, especially coming back in the first set? Well, I think Lauren was looking to me, like: How do I feel? Was my toe hurting too much? So for me to be vocal and energetic, I think that encouraged her that I was feeling O.K. and kind of kept our team spirits up. What are your thoughts on the new rule that you have to be serving to win? At first I didn’t like it too much. But I think the more that I play with it, I think it makes me better, and I think it makes the teams better. We have to fight for that last point. You have to dig in deep and play really well to get that last point. So it’s growing on me, for sure.

Photograph by Henry Mode

Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings is aiming to win a gold medal in beach volleyball at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 when she’ll be 41 because, she said on Thursday, “I don’t believe in barriers.” Speaking at TheWrap’s Power Women breakfast in San Francisco, the three-time gold medalist said: “You have to earn your way there. I don’t believe in barriers. I believe my heart will tell me [when to stop]. I pray that my body doesn’t give out — my body feels amazing. I’ve had five shoulder surgeries, I’ve been through a lot, my training is smarter and my diet is smarter in my recovery processes, and I have amazing trainers. I honestly pray for clarity that it’s clear when I’m done, my heart will tell me that, ‘Kerri, you’re done.'” “I’ve lived this part of my life and I’m ready to transition into something else and grow into something else,” she continued. “My mission in the next four years is just grow in my sport — it’s such a beautiful, empowering sport for women, and the drive in this country, the opportunities this country survive on are huge and I want to take it to the next level … I want to beat the world.”
Olympic Medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings Aims For Tokyo 2020 At 38: ‘I Don’t Believe in Barriers’
Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings is aiming to win a gold medal in beach volleyball at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 when she’ll be 41 because, she said on Thursday, “I don’t believe in barriers.” Speaking at TheWrap’s Power Women breakfast in San Francisco, the three-time gold medalist said: “You have to earn your way there. I don’t believe in barriers. I believe my heart will tell me [when to stop]. I pray that my body doesn’t give out — my body feels amazing. I’ve had five shoulder surgeries, I’ve been through a lot, my training is smarter and my diet is smarter in my recovery processes, and I have amazing trainers. I honestly pray for clarity that it’s clear when I’m done, my heart will tell me that, ‘Kerri, you’re done.'” “I’ve lived this part of my life and I’m ready to transition into something else and grow into something else,” she continued. “My mission in the next four years is just grow in my sport — it’s such a beautiful, empowering sport for women, and the drive in this country, the opportunities this country survive on are huge and I want to take it to the next level … I want to beat the world.”
Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings is aiming to win a gold medal in beach volleyball at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 when she’ll be 41 because, she said on Thursday, “I don’t believe in barriers.” Speaking at TheWrap’s Power Women breakfast in San Francisco, the three-time gold medalist said: “You have to earn your way there. I don’t believe in barriers. I believe my heart will tell me [when to stop]. I pray that my body doesn’t give out — my body feels amazing. I’ve had five shoulder surgeries, I’ve been through a lot, my training is smarter and my diet is smarter in my recovery processes, and I have amazing trainers. I honestly pray for clarity that it’s clear when I’m done, my heart will tell me that, ‘Kerri, you’re done.'” “I’ve lived this part of my life and I’m ready to transition into something else and grow into something else,” she continued. “My mission in the next four years is just grow in my sport — it’s such a beautiful, empowering sport for women, and the drive in this country, the opportunities this country survive on are huge and I want to take it to the next level … I want to beat the world.”
Olympic Medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings Aims For Tokyo 2020 At 38: ‘I Don’t Believe in Barriers’
Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings is aiming to win a gold medal in beach volleyball at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 when she’ll be 41 because, she said on Thursday, “I don’t believe in barriers.” Speaking at TheWrap’s Power Women breakfast in San Francisco, the three-time gold medalist said: “You have to earn your way there. I don’t believe in barriers. I believe my heart will tell me [when to stop]. I pray that my body doesn’t give out — my body feels amazing. I’ve had five shoulder surgeries, I’ve been through a lot, my training is smarter and my diet is smarter in my recovery processes, and I have amazing trainers. I honestly pray for clarity that it’s clear when I’m done, my heart will tell me that, ‘Kerri, you’re done.'” “I’ve lived this part of my life and I’m ready to transition into something else and grow into something else,” she continued. “My mission in the next four years is just grow in my sport — it’s such a beautiful, empowering sport for women, and the drive in this country, the opportunities this country survive on are huge and I want to take it to the next level … I want to beat the world.”
Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings is aiming to win a gold medal in beach volleyball at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 when she’ll be 41 because, she said on Thursday, “I don’t believe in barriers.” Speaking at TheWrap’s Power Women breakfast in San Francisco, the three-time gold medalist said: “You have to earn your way there. I don’t believe in barriers. I believe my heart will tell me [when to stop]. I pray that my body doesn’t give out — my body feels amazing. I’ve had five shoulder surgeries, I’ve been through a lot, my training is smarter and my diet is smarter in my recovery processes, and I have amazing trainers. I honestly pray for clarity that it’s clear when I’m done, my heart will tell me that, ‘Kerri, you’re done.'” “I’ve lived this part of my life and I’m ready to transition into something else and grow into something else,” she continued. “My mission in the next four years is just grow in my sport — it’s such a beautiful, empowering sport for women, and the drive in this country, the opportunities this country survive on are huge and I want to take it to the next level … I want to beat the world.”
Olympic Medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings Aims For Tokyo 2020 At 38: ‘I Don’t Believe in Barriers’
Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings is aiming to win a gold medal in beach volleyball at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 when she’ll be 41 because, she said on Thursday, “I don’t believe in barriers.” Speaking at TheWrap’s Power Women breakfast in San Francisco, the three-time gold medalist said: “You have to earn your way there. I don’t believe in barriers. I believe my heart will tell me [when to stop]. I pray that my body doesn’t give out — my body feels amazing. I’ve had five shoulder surgeries, I’ve been through a lot, my training is smarter and my diet is smarter in my recovery processes, and I have amazing trainers. I honestly pray for clarity that it’s clear when I’m done, my heart will tell me that, ‘Kerri, you’re done.'” “I’ve lived this part of my life and I’m ready to transition into something else and grow into something else,” she continued. “My mission in the next four years is just grow in my sport — it’s such a beautiful, empowering sport for women, and the drive in this country, the opportunities this country survive on are huge and I want to take it to the next level … I want to beat the world.”
Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings is aiming to win a gold medal in beach volleyball at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 when she’ll be 41 because, she said on Thursday, “I don’t believe in barriers.” Speaking at TheWrap’s Power Women breakfast in San Francisco, the three-time gold medalist said: “You have to earn your way there. I don’t believe in barriers. I believe my heart will tell me [when to stop]. I pray that my body doesn’t give out — my body feels amazing. I’ve had five shoulder surgeries, I’ve been through a lot, my training is smarter and my diet is smarter in my recovery processes, and I have amazing trainers. I honestly pray for clarity that it’s clear when I’m done, my heart will tell me that, ‘Kerri, you’re done.'” “I’ve lived this part of my life and I’m ready to transition into something else and grow into something else,” she continued. “My mission in the next four years is just grow in my sport — it’s such a beautiful, empowering sport for women, and the drive in this country, the opportunities this country survive on are huge and I want to take it to the next level … I want to beat the world.”
Olympic Medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings Aims For Tokyo 2020 At 38: ‘I Don’t Believe in Barriers’
Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings is aiming to win a gold medal in beach volleyball at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 when she’ll be 41 because, she said on Thursday, “I don’t believe in barriers.” Speaking at TheWrap’s Power Women breakfast in San Francisco, the three-time gold medalist said: “You have to earn your way there. I don’t believe in barriers. I believe my heart will tell me [when to stop]. I pray that my body doesn’t give out — my body feels amazing. I’ve had five shoulder surgeries, I’ve been through a lot, my training is smarter and my diet is smarter in my recovery processes, and I have amazing trainers. I honestly pray for clarity that it’s clear when I’m done, my heart will tell me that, ‘Kerri, you’re done.'” “I’ve lived this part of my life and I’m ready to transition into something else and grow into something else,” she continued. “My mission in the next four years is just grow in my sport — it’s such a beautiful, empowering sport for women, and the drive in this country, the opportunities this country survive on are huge and I want to take it to the next level … I want to beat the world.”
Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings is aiming to win a gold medal in beach volleyball at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 when she’ll be 41 because, she said on Thursday, “I don’t believe in barriers.” Speaking at TheWrap’s Power Women breakfast in San Francisco, the three-time gold medalist said: “You have to earn your way there. I don’t believe in barriers. I believe my heart will tell me [when to stop]. I pray that my body doesn’t give out — my body feels amazing. I’ve had five shoulder surgeries, I’ve been through a lot, my training is smarter and my diet is smarter in my recovery processes, and I have amazing trainers. I honestly pray for clarity that it’s clear when I’m done, my heart will tell me that, ‘Kerri, you’re done.'” “I’ve lived this part of my life and I’m ready to transition into something else and grow into something else,” she continued. “My mission in the next four years is just grow in my sport — it’s such a beautiful, empowering sport for women, and the drive in this country, the opportunities this country survive on are huge and I want to take it to the next level … I want to beat the world.”
Olympic Medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings Aims For Tokyo 2020 At 38: ‘I Don’t Believe in Barriers’
Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings is aiming to win a gold medal in beach volleyball at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 when she’ll be 41 because, she said on Thursday, “I don’t believe in barriers.” Speaking at TheWrap’s Power Women breakfast in San Francisco, the three-time gold medalist said: “You have to earn your way there. I don’t believe in barriers. I believe my heart will tell me [when to stop]. I pray that my body doesn’t give out — my body feels amazing. I’ve had five shoulder surgeries, I’ve been through a lot, my training is smarter and my diet is smarter in my recovery processes, and I have amazing trainers. I honestly pray for clarity that it’s clear when I’m done, my heart will tell me that, ‘Kerri, you’re done.'” “I’ve lived this part of my life and I’m ready to transition into something else and grow into something else,” she continued. “My mission in the next four years is just grow in my sport — it’s such a beautiful, empowering sport for women, and the drive in this country, the opportunities this country survive on are huge and I want to take it to the next level … I want to beat the world.”
FILE - In this Aug. 18, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings stands on the podium after winning the bronze medal in the women's beach volleyball competition of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. More than 100 athletes from around the world say the medals they won at the Rio Olympics are damaged. The IOC and Rio organizers plan to replace them with new medals. Among those with defective medals are beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings who says her bronze medal from last summer is flaking and rusting. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 18, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings stands on the podium after winning the bronze medal in the women's beach volleyball competition of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. More than 100 athletes from around the world say the medals they won at the Rio Olympics are damaged. The IOC and Rio organizers plan to replace them with new medals. Among those with defective medals are beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings who says her bronze medal from last summer is flaking and rusting. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 18, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings stands on the podium after winning the bronze medal in the women's beach volleyball competition of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. More than 100 athletes from around the world say the medals they won at the Rio Olympics are damaged. The IOC and Rio organizers plan to replace them with new medals. Among those with defective medals are beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings who says her bronze medal from last summer is flaking and rusting. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
<p>Kyle Snyder made history at the Rio Olympics by becoming the youngest American wrestler to win a gold medal.</p><p>The medal will soon be history as well, to be replaced by the IOC and Rio organizers because of damage.</p><p>Snyder and Helen Maroulis, another U.S. gold medalist wrestler, are among a group of more than 100 athletes from around the world with defective Olympic medals.</p><p>Beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings says her bronze medal from last summer is flaking and rusting, and USA Swimming spokesman Scott Leightman said some swimmers have damaged medals as well.</p><p>USA Basketball spokesman Craig Miller said the organization reached out to its players and seven — three men and four women — reported they believe there is an issue with their medals. The names of players aren’t known yet, and the plan will likely be to pass the medals on to USOC for evaluation.</p><p>Rio Games spokesman Mario Andrada said Friday that officials have noted problems with the covering on 6 to 7 percent of the medals.</p><p>“The most common issue is that they were dropped or mishandled, and the varnish has come off and they’ve rusted or gone black in the spot where they were damaged,” Andrada said.</p><p>Snyder, who wrestles for Ohio State, was 20 when he won his medal. He noticed an issue with his medal the day after he won it.</p><p>He went to a party at the Team USA house in Rio, where he said multiple people handled the medal as they celebrated. Snyder said he later discovered a scratch on the back of it, though he added there has been no further damage.</p><p>Snyder said he has until the end of the week to return his gold medal and has no idea when he’ll receive his replacement.</p><p>“It wasn’t too big of a deal,” Snyder said. “But since they’re giving me a new one, it’s kind of cool.”</p><p>Rio de Janeiro spent about $12 billion to organize the games, which were plagued by cost-cutting, poor attendance and reports of bribes and corruption linked to the building of some Olympic-related facilities.</p><p>Nine months later, many of the venues are empty and have no tenants or income — with the maintenance costs dumped on the federal government. In addition to the issues with the medals, which featured the Rio and Olympic logos, the local organizing committee still owes creditors about $30 million</p><p>Greg Massialas, a national coach for the U.S. fencing team in Rio, said in a message to The Associated Press that the silver medal son Alex won is damage free. He added that he hasn’t heard about any issues with other American fencers.</p><p>U.S. shooter Ginny Thrasher and boxer Claressa Shields, along with men’s tennis bronze medalist Kei Nishikori of Japan, also reported that their gold medals are intact.</p><p>Walsh Jennings, who won three golds in previous Olympics, says her medals tend to get beaten up because she doesn’t hesitate to let people touch them or try them on. But she won’t consider locking them up because people are inspired by them.</p><p>“They’ve offered to replace them. I’m not sure if I want to swap it out,” Walsh-Jennings told the AP, adding the reason was “100 percent sentimental.”</p>
Faster, higher, rustier: Medals from Rio Olympics damaged

Kyle Snyder made history at the Rio Olympics by becoming the youngest American wrestler to win a gold medal.

The medal will soon be history as well, to be replaced by the IOC and Rio organizers because of damage.

Snyder and Helen Maroulis, another U.S. gold medalist wrestler, are among a group of more than 100 athletes from around the world with defective Olympic medals.

Beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings says her bronze medal from last summer is flaking and rusting, and USA Swimming spokesman Scott Leightman said some swimmers have damaged medals as well.

USA Basketball spokesman Craig Miller said the organization reached out to its players and seven — three men and four women — reported they believe there is an issue with their medals. The names of players aren’t known yet, and the plan will likely be to pass the medals on to USOC for evaluation.

Rio Games spokesman Mario Andrada said Friday that officials have noted problems with the covering on 6 to 7 percent of the medals.

“The most common issue is that they were dropped or mishandled, and the varnish has come off and they’ve rusted or gone black in the spot where they were damaged,” Andrada said.

Snyder, who wrestles for Ohio State, was 20 when he won his medal. He noticed an issue with his medal the day after he won it.

He went to a party at the Team USA house in Rio, where he said multiple people handled the medal as they celebrated. Snyder said he later discovered a scratch on the back of it, though he added there has been no further damage.

Snyder said he has until the end of the week to return his gold medal and has no idea when he’ll receive his replacement.

“It wasn’t too big of a deal,” Snyder said. “But since they’re giving me a new one, it’s kind of cool.”

Rio de Janeiro spent about $12 billion to organize the games, which were plagued by cost-cutting, poor attendance and reports of bribes and corruption linked to the building of some Olympic-related facilities.

Nine months later, many of the venues are empty and have no tenants or income — with the maintenance costs dumped on the federal government. In addition to the issues with the medals, which featured the Rio and Olympic logos, the local organizing committee still owes creditors about $30 million

Greg Massialas, a national coach for the U.S. fencing team in Rio, said in a message to The Associated Press that the silver medal son Alex won is damage free. He added that he hasn’t heard about any issues with other American fencers.

U.S. shooter Ginny Thrasher and boxer Claressa Shields, along with men’s tennis bronze medalist Kei Nishikori of Japan, also reported that their gold medals are intact.

Walsh Jennings, who won three golds in previous Olympics, says her medals tend to get beaten up because she doesn’t hesitate to let people touch them or try them on. But she won’t consider locking them up because people are inspired by them.

“They’ve offered to replace them. I’m not sure if I want to swap it out,” Walsh-Jennings told the AP, adding the reason was “100 percent sentimental.”

FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings, left, and April Ross, right, celebrate winning a point during a women's beach volleyball quarterfinal match against Australia, at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Beach volleyball has a new ally as it tries to grow from an Olympic phenomenon to an every-year attraction: ESPN. The sports network will broadcast the World Series of Beach Volleyball, an international pro tour stop in California in July. Event organizers hope the exposure will help beach volleyball attract new fans and hold onto the ones who watch during the Summer Games only to drift away until the next Olympics. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings, left, and April Ross, right, celebrate winning a point during a women's beach volleyball quarterfinal match against Australia, at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Beach volleyball has a new ally as it tries to grow from an Olympic phenomenon to an every-year attraction: ESPN. The sports network will broadcast the World Series of Beach Volleyball, an international pro tour stop in California in July. Event organizers hope the exposure will help beach volleyball attract new fans and hold onto the ones who watch during the Summer Games only to drift away until the next Olympics. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings, left, and April Ross, right, celebrate winning a point during a women's beach volleyball quarterfinal match against Australia, at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Beach volleyball has a new ally as it tries to grow from an Olympic phenomenon to an every-year attraction: ESPN. The sports network will broadcast the World Series of Beach Volleyball, an international pro tour stop in California in July. Event organizers hope the exposure will help beach volleyball attract new fans and hold onto the ones who watch during the Summer Games only to drift away until the next Olympics. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings reaches for a ball against Australia during a women's beach volleyball quarterfinal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Beach volleyball has a new ally as it tries to grow from an Olympic phenomenon to an every-year attraction: ESPN. The sports network will broadcast the World Series of Beach Volleyball, an international pro tour stop in California in July. Event organizers hope the exposure will help beach volleyball attract new fans and hold onto the ones who watch during the Summer Games only to drift away until the next Olympics. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings reaches for a ball against Australia during a women's beach volleyball quarterfinal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Beach volleyball has a new ally as it tries to grow from an Olympic phenomenon to an every-year attraction: ESPN. The sports network will broadcast the World Series of Beach Volleyball, an international pro tour stop in California in July. Event organizers hope the exposure will help beach volleyball attract new fans and hold onto the ones who watch during the Summer Games only to drift away until the next Olympics. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings reaches for a ball against Australia during a women's beach volleyball quarterfinal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Beach volleyball has a new ally as it tries to grow from an Olympic phenomenon to an every-year attraction: ESPN. The sports network will broadcast the World Series of Beach Volleyball, an international pro tour stop in California in July. Event organizers hope the exposure will help beach volleyball attract new fans and hold onto the ones who watch during the Summer Games only to drift away until the next Olympics. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
<p><em>The following is an excerpt from TIME's new special edition, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683309839/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1683309839&linkId=340d400163029c0f436f62a0de3e66ab&tag=sitimescienceofexercise-20" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Science of Exercise" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Science of Exercise</a>, available on <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683309839/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1683309839&linkId=340d400163029c0f436f62a0de3e66ab&tag=sitimescienceofexercise-20" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a> and at retailers everywhere.</em></p><p>If you’ve ever opened a birthday card to a message that reads, “It’s all downhill from here,” you’re likely at an age when, according to popular opinion, your best days are behind you. For athletes, that comes even sooner—anywhere from age 20 to 29, depending on the sport. Still, there are outliers, elite athletes who thrive at a time when science says their physical prowess should be fading.</p><p>Their success doesn’t hinge solely on beating the physical decline that comes with age. All bodies naturally wear down with age—albeit at different rates, depending on many factors, from genetics to lifestyle. But because even the world’s top athletes can’t escape the bodily effects of Father Time, when their professional performance calls for speed, strength, power and agility, they must find ways to stay strong, maintain fitness and avoid injury.</p><p>That’s where the mind takes over. For many of those performing at an elite level—including the six pro athletes in the pages that follow—it’s mentality, cognitive abilities and pure willpower that propel them to excellence. </p><p>Venus Williams, tennis</p><p>When Venus Williams, now 36, looks over the net at her opponent during most tournaments, she’s likely looking at a player who was born around the time she started her pro tennis career in 1994. That is, of course, unless the match is against her younger sister Serena, who is 35. That’s what occurred during the 2017 Australian Open final, where her runner-up finish showed that even after seven major titles—and a 2011 diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that requires daily maintenance and can sap strength over time—Williams still competes against (and defeats) the best players in the game. To help her overcome illness and injury over the course of her 23-year career, she eats a mostly plant-based diet. To fuel her body for intense on-court hitting, she also trains with a mix of agility workouts, tennis-specific gym exercises and yoga. And when she’s not practicing her forehands and backhands, Williams keeps her body—and mind—in motion with some free-spirited dancing. </p><p>Tom Brady, football</p><p>You’ll certainly see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady participating in standard quarterback drills, but the five-time Super Bowl champion is also known to go above and beyond the team’s standard workout regimen. With the help of Alex Guerrero, his “body coach,” Brady focuses on lifestyle factors such as sleep and rest for optimal recovery, as well as meditation for a clearer mind and better self-awareness. His well-documented diet—heavy on plants and low on inflammation-boosting foods—is another key to his success. Brady eats mostly vegan; steers clear of caffeine, dairy, mushrooms and sugar; and avoids nightshades, such as tomatoes and eggplants. His approach may be unorthodox, but it works: at 39, Brady is in the best shape of his life—and has no plans to retire anytime soon. </p><p>Jaromír Jágr, hockey</p><p>Since his NHL start as an 18-year-old in 1990, Florida Panthers right-winger Jaromír Jágr has thrived thanks to his physical strength and remarkable vision and scoring abilities. On his 45th birthday in February 2017, Jágr became only the second player in NHL history to reach 1,900 career points, and the traits that made his career in the early days are still in play. To keep in shape, the Czech athlete engages in a mixed bag of training methods, each of which serve a specific purpose on the ice. Resistance-band sprints help build speed and acceleration, for instance, while shooting six- or eight-pound medicine balls against the wall with his hockey stick translates directly to his punishing shot on goal. While he’s known for intense late-night workouts, Jágr’s exercise routine isn’t the only thing that keeps him solid and stable. “He finds ways to be stronger with his mind-set and spends a lot of time trying to find energy through activating chakras [energy points],” says Panthers strength and conditioning coach Tommy Powers. Powers also helps Jagr with other training techniques, such as Ki-Hara resistance stretching and mashing, a combination of Thai massage and other practices that increase blood flow and promote recovery. </p><p>Richard Jefferson, basketball</p><p>He may not be the marquee face of his team like a Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook, but Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson is definitely in the midst of his best NBA years yet—at the age of 36. Though he saw some success in his rookie season followed by a seven-year stint with the Nets, it was just last year that he finally earned his first NBA championship ring after playing on five different teams in five years. What’s more, his career is already three times as long as the average NBA player’s, and although he’s not the Cavs’ star player—that would be LeBron James—Jefferson has been able to revamp his career and succeed against much younger opponents thanks to a Southern California–influenced lifestyle change. In addition to regular weightlifting and other off-season workouts, Jefferson started playing beach volleyball and doing yoga, two adjustments that experts believe have been just as important to his late-career surge as his jump-shot accuracy and dunking abilities. </p><p>Kerri Walsh Jennings, beach volleyball</p><p>After two shoulder injuries, the three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings wasn’t sure if she’d be able to compete in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Despite those major setbacks, however, she was able to rehab back to world-class form by adding new methods to her training and preparation, all at the age of 38. Pilates, meditation, soft-tissue massage and even brain training—using Versus, a headset that collects and assesses cognitive performance—were part of her routine leading up to a bronze-medal finish in Rio with her teammate April Ross. Walsh Jennings’s sessions with trainer Eric Weldon also focused on strength training and mobility (particularly in her hips and upper spine), and on-court circuits honed specific volleyball skills. Top sand players tend to be older than most pro athletes, and Walsh Jennings still has not shown signs of slowing down, even after an improbable five tours—and four medals—at the Olympic Games. </p><p>Roger Federer, tennis</p><p>If you predicted that 35-year-old Roger Federer would win his 18th Grand Slam title—and his first in nearly five years—at the 2017 Australian Open, even the Swiss Maestro himself would’ve thought you were crazy. After a serious knee injury requiring a six-month layoff to recover, Federer pulled through to triumph despite it all. The surgery to repair his knee injury—the result of a freak accident while Federer was drawing a bath for his young daughters—was the first such procedure of his 19-year career, a testament to his superior fitness and durability. But while his work with longtime conditioning coach Pierre Paganini helped him regain his physical form, his strongest suit has always been his focused mindset and passion for tennis—mind over matter, as it were. Said Federer of his title in Melbourne, “Coming back, getting older, and people have written me off maybe, makes this one so unique.”</p>
When athletes beat the odds: These six stars are just getting better age

The following is an excerpt from TIME's new special edition, The Science of Exercise, available on Amazon and at retailers everywhere.

If you’ve ever opened a birthday card to a message that reads, “It’s all downhill from here,” you’re likely at an age when, according to popular opinion, your best days are behind you. For athletes, that comes even sooner—anywhere from age 20 to 29, depending on the sport. Still, there are outliers, elite athletes who thrive at a time when science says their physical prowess should be fading.

Their success doesn’t hinge solely on beating the physical decline that comes with age. All bodies naturally wear down with age—albeit at different rates, depending on many factors, from genetics to lifestyle. But because even the world’s top athletes can’t escape the bodily effects of Father Time, when their professional performance calls for speed, strength, power and agility, they must find ways to stay strong, maintain fitness and avoid injury.

That’s where the mind takes over. For many of those performing at an elite level—including the six pro athletes in the pages that follow—it’s mentality, cognitive abilities and pure willpower that propel them to excellence.

Venus Williams, tennis

When Venus Williams, now 36, looks over the net at her opponent during most tournaments, she’s likely looking at a player who was born around the time she started her pro tennis career in 1994. That is, of course, unless the match is against her younger sister Serena, who is 35. That’s what occurred during the 2017 Australian Open final, where her runner-up finish showed that even after seven major titles—and a 2011 diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that requires daily maintenance and can sap strength over time—Williams still competes against (and defeats) the best players in the game. To help her overcome illness and injury over the course of her 23-year career, she eats a mostly plant-based diet. To fuel her body for intense on-court hitting, she also trains with a mix of agility workouts, tennis-specific gym exercises and yoga. And when she’s not practicing her forehands and backhands, Williams keeps her body—and mind—in motion with some free-spirited dancing.

Tom Brady, football

You’ll certainly see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady participating in standard quarterback drills, but the five-time Super Bowl champion is also known to go above and beyond the team’s standard workout regimen. With the help of Alex Guerrero, his “body coach,” Brady focuses on lifestyle factors such as sleep and rest for optimal recovery, as well as meditation for a clearer mind and better self-awareness. His well-documented diet—heavy on plants and low on inflammation-boosting foods—is another key to his success. Brady eats mostly vegan; steers clear of caffeine, dairy, mushrooms and sugar; and avoids nightshades, such as tomatoes and eggplants. His approach may be unorthodox, but it works: at 39, Brady is in the best shape of his life—and has no plans to retire anytime soon.

Jaromír Jágr, hockey

Since his NHL start as an 18-year-old in 1990, Florida Panthers right-winger Jaromír Jágr has thrived thanks to his physical strength and remarkable vision and scoring abilities. On his 45th birthday in February 2017, Jágr became only the second player in NHL history to reach 1,900 career points, and the traits that made his career in the early days are still in play. To keep in shape, the Czech athlete engages in a mixed bag of training methods, each of which serve a specific purpose on the ice. Resistance-band sprints help build speed and acceleration, for instance, while shooting six- or eight-pound medicine balls against the wall with his hockey stick translates directly to his punishing shot on goal. While he’s known for intense late-night workouts, Jágr’s exercise routine isn’t the only thing that keeps him solid and stable. “He finds ways to be stronger with his mind-set and spends a lot of time trying to find energy through activating chakras [energy points],” says Panthers strength and conditioning coach Tommy Powers. Powers also helps Jagr with other training techniques, such as Ki-Hara resistance stretching and mashing, a combination of Thai massage and other practices that increase blood flow and promote recovery.

Richard Jefferson, basketball

He may not be the marquee face of his team like a Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook, but Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson is definitely in the midst of his best NBA years yet—at the age of 36. Though he saw some success in his rookie season followed by a seven-year stint with the Nets, it was just last year that he finally earned his first NBA championship ring after playing on five different teams in five years. What’s more, his career is already three times as long as the average NBA player’s, and although he’s not the Cavs’ star player—that would be LeBron James—Jefferson has been able to revamp his career and succeed against much younger opponents thanks to a Southern California–influenced lifestyle change. In addition to regular weightlifting and other off-season workouts, Jefferson started playing beach volleyball and doing yoga, two adjustments that experts believe have been just as important to his late-career surge as his jump-shot accuracy and dunking abilities.

Kerri Walsh Jennings, beach volleyball

After two shoulder injuries, the three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings wasn’t sure if she’d be able to compete in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Despite those major setbacks, however, she was able to rehab back to world-class form by adding new methods to her training and preparation, all at the age of 38. Pilates, meditation, soft-tissue massage and even brain training—using Versus, a headset that collects and assesses cognitive performance—were part of her routine leading up to a bronze-medal finish in Rio with her teammate April Ross. Walsh Jennings’s sessions with trainer Eric Weldon also focused on strength training and mobility (particularly in her hips and upper spine), and on-court circuits honed specific volleyball skills. Top sand players tend to be older than most pro athletes, and Walsh Jennings still has not shown signs of slowing down, even after an improbable five tours—and four medals—at the Olympic Games.

Roger Federer, tennis

If you predicted that 35-year-old Roger Federer would win his 18th Grand Slam title—and his first in nearly five years—at the 2017 Australian Open, even the Swiss Maestro himself would’ve thought you were crazy. After a serious knee injury requiring a six-month layoff to recover, Federer pulled through to triumph despite it all. The surgery to repair his knee injury—the result of a freak accident while Federer was drawing a bath for his young daughters—was the first such procedure of his 19-year career, a testament to his superior fitness and durability. But while his work with longtime conditioning coach Pierre Paganini helped him regain his physical form, his strongest suit has always been his focused mindset and passion for tennis—mind over matter, as it were. Said Federer of his title in Melbourne, “Coming back, getting older, and people have written me off maybe, makes this one so unique.”

<p><em>The following is an excerpt from TIME's new special edition, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683309839/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1683309839&linkId=340d400163029c0f436f62a0de3e66ab&tag=sitimescienceofexercise-20" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Science of Exercise" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Science of Exercise</a>, available on <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683309839/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1683309839&linkId=340d400163029c0f436f62a0de3e66ab&tag=sitimescienceofexercise-20" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a> and at retailers everywhere.</em></p><p>If you’ve ever opened a birthday card to a message that reads, “It’s all downhill from here,” you’re likely at an age when, according to popular opinion, your best days are behind you. For athletes, that comes even sooner—anywhere from age 20 to 29, depending on the sport. Still, there are outliers, elite athletes who thrive at a time when science says their physical prowess should be fading.</p><p>Their success doesn’t hinge solely on beating the physical decline that comes with age. All bodies naturally wear down with age—albeit at different rates, depending on many factors, from genetics to lifestyle. But because even the world’s top athletes can’t escape the bodily effects of Father Time, when their professional performance calls for speed, strength, power and agility, they must find ways to stay strong, maintain fitness and avoid injury.</p><p>That’s where the mind takes over. For many of those performing at an elite level—including the six pro athletes in the pages that follow—it’s mentality, cognitive abilities and pure willpower that propel them to excellence. </p><p>Venus Williams, tennis</p><p>When Venus Williams, now 36, looks over the net at her opponent during most tournaments, she’s likely looking at a player who was born around the time she started her pro tennis career in 1994. That is, of course, unless the match is against her younger sister Serena, who is 35. That’s what occurred during the 2017 Australian Open final, where her runner-up finish showed that even after seven major titles—and a 2011 diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that requires daily maintenance and can sap strength over time—Williams still competes against (and defeats) the best players in the game. To help her overcome illness and injury over the course of her 23-year career, she eats a mostly plant-based diet. To fuel her body for intense on-court hitting, she also trains with a mix of agility workouts, tennis-specific gym exercises and yoga. And when she’s not practicing her forehands and backhands, Williams keeps her body—and mind—in motion with some free-spirited dancing. </p><p>Tom Brady, football</p><p>You’ll certainly see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady participating in standard quarterback drills, but the five-time Super Bowl champion is also known to go above and beyond the team’s standard workout regimen. With the help of Alex Guerrero, his “body coach,” Brady focuses on lifestyle factors such as sleep and rest for optimal recovery, as well as meditation for a clearer mind and better self-awareness. His well-documented diet—heavy on plants and low on inflammation-boosting foods—is another key to his success. Brady eats mostly vegan; steers clear of caffeine, dairy, mushrooms and sugar; and avoids nightshades, such as tomatoes and eggplants. His approach may be unorthodox, but it works: at 39, Brady is in the best shape of his life—and has no plans to retire anytime soon. </p><p>Jaromír Jágr, hockey</p><p>Since his NHL start as an 18-year-old in 1990, Florida Panthers right-winger Jaromír Jágr has thrived thanks to his physical strength and remarkable vision and scoring abilities. On his 45th birthday in February 2017, Jágr became only the second player in NHL history to reach 1,900 career points, and the traits that made his career in the early days are still in play. To keep in shape, the Czech athlete engages in a mixed bag of training methods, each of which serve a specific purpose on the ice. Resistance-band sprints help build speed and acceleration, for instance, while shooting six- or eight-pound medicine balls against the wall with his hockey stick translates directly to his punishing shot on goal. While he’s known for intense late-night workouts, Jágr’s exercise routine isn’t the only thing that keeps him solid and stable. “He finds ways to be stronger with his mind-set and spends a lot of time trying to find energy through activating chakras [energy points],” says Panthers strength and conditioning coach Tommy Powers. Powers also helps Jagr with other training techniques, such as Ki-Hara resistance stretching and mashing, a combination of Thai massage and other practices that increase blood flow and promote recovery. </p><p>Richard Jefferson, basketball</p><p>He may not be the marquee face of his team like a Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook, but Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson is definitely in the midst of his best NBA years yet—at the age of 36. Though he saw some success in his rookie season followed by a seven-year stint with the Nets, it was just last year that he finally earned his first NBA championship ring after playing on five different teams in five years. What’s more, his career is already three times as long as the average NBA player’s, and although he’s not the Cavs’ star player—that would be LeBron James—Jefferson has been able to revamp his career and succeed against much younger opponents thanks to a Southern California–influenced lifestyle change. In addition to regular weightlifting and other off-season workouts, Jefferson started playing beach volleyball and doing yoga, two adjustments that experts believe have been just as important to his late-career surge as his jump-shot accuracy and dunking abilities. </p><p>Kerri Walsh Jennings, beach volleyball</p><p>After two shoulder injuries, the three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings wasn’t sure if she’d be able to compete in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Despite those major setbacks, however, she was able to rehab back to world-class form by adding new methods to her training and preparation, all at the age of 38. Pilates, meditation, soft-tissue massage and even brain training—using Versus, a headset that collects and assesses cognitive performance—were part of her routine leading up to a bronze-medal finish in Rio with her teammate April Ross. Walsh Jennings’s sessions with trainer Eric Weldon also focused on strength training and mobility (particularly in her hips and upper spine), and on-court circuits honed specific volleyball skills. Top sand players tend to be older than most pro athletes, and Walsh Jennings still has not shown signs of slowing down, even after an improbable five tours—and four medals—at the Olympic Games. </p><p>Roger Federer, tennis</p><p>If you predicted that 35-year-old Roger Federer would win his 18th Grand Slam title—and his first in nearly five years—at the 2017 Australian Open, even the Swiss Maestro himself would’ve thought you were crazy. After a serious knee injury requiring a six-month layoff to recover, Federer pulled through to triumph despite it all. The surgery to repair his knee injury—the result of a freak accident while Federer was drawing a bath for his young daughters—was the first such procedure of his 19-year career, a testament to his superior fitness and durability. But while his work with longtime conditioning coach Pierre Paganini helped him regain his physical form, his strongest suit has always been his focused mindset and passion for tennis—mind over matter, as it were. Said Federer of his title in Melbourne, “Coming back, getting older, and people have written me off maybe, makes this one so unique.”</p>
When athletes beat the odds: These six stars are just getting better age

The following is an excerpt from TIME's new special edition, The Science of Exercise, available on Amazon and at retailers everywhere.

If you’ve ever opened a birthday card to a message that reads, “It’s all downhill from here,” you’re likely at an age when, according to popular opinion, your best days are behind you. For athletes, that comes even sooner—anywhere from age 20 to 29, depending on the sport. Still, there are outliers, elite athletes who thrive at a time when science says their physical prowess should be fading.

Their success doesn’t hinge solely on beating the physical decline that comes with age. All bodies naturally wear down with age—albeit at different rates, depending on many factors, from genetics to lifestyle. But because even the world’s top athletes can’t escape the bodily effects of Father Time, when their professional performance calls for speed, strength, power and agility, they must find ways to stay strong, maintain fitness and avoid injury.

That’s where the mind takes over. For many of those performing at an elite level—including the six pro athletes in the pages that follow—it’s mentality, cognitive abilities and pure willpower that propel them to excellence.

Venus Williams, tennis

When Venus Williams, now 36, looks over the net at her opponent during most tournaments, she’s likely looking at a player who was born around the time she started her pro tennis career in 1994. That is, of course, unless the match is against her younger sister Serena, who is 35. That’s what occurred during the 2017 Australian Open final, where her runner-up finish showed that even after seven major titles—and a 2011 diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that requires daily maintenance and can sap strength over time—Williams still competes against (and defeats) the best players in the game. To help her overcome illness and injury over the course of her 23-year career, she eats a mostly plant-based diet. To fuel her body for intense on-court hitting, she also trains with a mix of agility workouts, tennis-specific gym exercises and yoga. And when she’s not practicing her forehands and backhands, Williams keeps her body—and mind—in motion with some free-spirited dancing.

Tom Brady, football

You’ll certainly see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady participating in standard quarterback drills, but the five-time Super Bowl champion is also known to go above and beyond the team’s standard workout regimen. With the help of Alex Guerrero, his “body coach,” Brady focuses on lifestyle factors such as sleep and rest for optimal recovery, as well as meditation for a clearer mind and better self-awareness. His well-documented diet—heavy on plants and low on inflammation-boosting foods—is another key to his success. Brady eats mostly vegan; steers clear of caffeine, dairy, mushrooms and sugar; and avoids nightshades, such as tomatoes and eggplants. His approach may be unorthodox, but it works: at 39, Brady is in the best shape of his life—and has no plans to retire anytime soon.

Jaromír Jágr, hockey

Since his NHL start as an 18-year-old in 1990, Florida Panthers right-winger Jaromír Jágr has thrived thanks to his physical strength and remarkable vision and scoring abilities. On his 45th birthday in February 2017, Jágr became only the second player in NHL history to reach 1,900 career points, and the traits that made his career in the early days are still in play. To keep in shape, the Czech athlete engages in a mixed bag of training methods, each of which serve a specific purpose on the ice. Resistance-band sprints help build speed and acceleration, for instance, while shooting six- or eight-pound medicine balls against the wall with his hockey stick translates directly to his punishing shot on goal. While he’s known for intense late-night workouts, Jágr’s exercise routine isn’t the only thing that keeps him solid and stable. “He finds ways to be stronger with his mind-set and spends a lot of time trying to find energy through activating chakras [energy points],” says Panthers strength and conditioning coach Tommy Powers. Powers also helps Jagr with other training techniques, such as Ki-Hara resistance stretching and mashing, a combination of Thai massage and other practices that increase blood flow and promote recovery.

Richard Jefferson, basketball

He may not be the marquee face of his team like a Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook, but Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson is definitely in the midst of his best NBA years yet—at the age of 36. Though he saw some success in his rookie season followed by a seven-year stint with the Nets, it was just last year that he finally earned his first NBA championship ring after playing on five different teams in five years. What’s more, his career is already three times as long as the average NBA player’s, and although he’s not the Cavs’ star player—that would be LeBron James—Jefferson has been able to revamp his career and succeed against much younger opponents thanks to a Southern California–influenced lifestyle change. In addition to regular weightlifting and other off-season workouts, Jefferson started playing beach volleyball and doing yoga, two adjustments that experts believe have been just as important to his late-career surge as his jump-shot accuracy and dunking abilities.

Kerri Walsh Jennings, beach volleyball

After two shoulder injuries, the three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings wasn’t sure if she’d be able to compete in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Despite those major setbacks, however, she was able to rehab back to world-class form by adding new methods to her training and preparation, all at the age of 38. Pilates, meditation, soft-tissue massage and even brain training—using Versus, a headset that collects and assesses cognitive performance—were part of her routine leading up to a bronze-medal finish in Rio with her teammate April Ross. Walsh Jennings’s sessions with trainer Eric Weldon also focused on strength training and mobility (particularly in her hips and upper spine), and on-court circuits honed specific volleyball skills. Top sand players tend to be older than most pro athletes, and Walsh Jennings still has not shown signs of slowing down, even after an improbable five tours—and four medals—at the Olympic Games.

Roger Federer, tennis

If you predicted that 35-year-old Roger Federer would win his 18th Grand Slam title—and his first in nearly five years—at the 2017 Australian Open, even the Swiss Maestro himself would’ve thought you were crazy. After a serious knee injury requiring a six-month layoff to recover, Federer pulled through to triumph despite it all. The surgery to repair his knee injury—the result of a freak accident while Federer was drawing a bath for his young daughters—was the first such procedure of his 19-year career, a testament to his superior fitness and durability. But while his work with longtime conditioning coach Pierre Paganini helped him regain his physical form, his strongest suit has always been his focused mindset and passion for tennis—mind over matter, as it were. Said Federer of his title in Melbourne, “Coming back, getting older, and people have written me off maybe, makes this one so unique.”

<p><em>The following is an excerpt from TIME's new special edition, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683309839/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1683309839&linkId=340d400163029c0f436f62a0de3e66ab&tag=sitimescienceofexercise-20" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Science of Exercise" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Science of Exercise</a>, available on <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683309839/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1683309839&linkId=340d400163029c0f436f62a0de3e66ab&tag=sitimescienceofexercise-20" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a> and at retailers everywhere.</em></p><p>If you’ve ever opened a birthday card to a message that reads, “It’s all downhill from here,” you’re likely at an age when, according to popular opinion, your best days are behind you. For athletes, that comes even sooner—anywhere from age 20 to 29, depending on the sport. Still, there are outliers, elite athletes who thrive at a time when science says their physical prowess should be fading.</p><p>Their success doesn’t hinge solely on beating the physical decline that comes with age. All bodies naturally wear down with age—albeit at different rates, depending on many factors, from genetics to lifestyle. But because even the world’s top athletes can’t escape the bodily effects of Father Time, when their professional performance calls for speed, strength, power and agility, they must find ways to stay strong, maintain fitness and avoid injury.</p><p>That’s where the mind takes over. For many of those performing at an elite level—including the six pro athletes in the pages that follow—it’s mentality, cognitive abilities and pure willpower that propel them to excellence. </p><p>Venus Williams, tennis</p><p>When Venus Williams, now 36, looks over the net at her opponent during most tournaments, she’s likely looking at a player who was born around the time she started her pro tennis career in 1994. That is, of course, unless the match is against her younger sister Serena, who is 35. That’s what occurred during the 2017 Australian Open final, where her runner-up finish showed that even after seven major titles—and a 2011 diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that requires daily maintenance and can sap strength over time—Williams still competes against (and defeats) the best players in the game. To help her overcome illness and injury over the course of her 23-year career, she eats a mostly plant-based diet. To fuel her body for intense on-court hitting, she also trains with a mix of agility workouts, tennis-specific gym exercises and yoga. And when she’s not practicing her forehands and backhands, Williams keeps her body—and mind—in motion with some free-spirited dancing. </p><p>Tom Brady, football</p><p>You’ll certainly see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady participating in standard quarterback drills, but the five-time Super Bowl champion is also known to go above and beyond the team’s standard workout regimen. With the help of Alex Guerrero, his “body coach,” Brady focuses on lifestyle factors such as sleep and rest for optimal recovery, as well as meditation for a clearer mind and better self-awareness. His well-documented diet—heavy on plants and low on inflammation-boosting foods—is another key to his success. Brady eats mostly vegan; steers clear of caffeine, dairy, mushrooms and sugar; and avoids nightshades, such as tomatoes and eggplants. His approach may be unorthodox, but it works: at 39, Brady is in the best shape of his life—and has no plans to retire anytime soon. </p><p>Jaromír Jágr, hockey</p><p>Since his NHL start as an 18-year-old in 1990, Florida Panthers right-winger Jaromír Jágr has thrived thanks to his physical strength and remarkable vision and scoring abilities. On his 45th birthday in February 2017, Jágr became only the second player in NHL history to reach 1,900 career points, and the traits that made his career in the early days are still in play. To keep in shape, the Czech athlete engages in a mixed bag of training methods, each of which serve a specific purpose on the ice. Resistance-band sprints help build speed and acceleration, for instance, while shooting six- or eight-pound medicine balls against the wall with his hockey stick translates directly to his punishing shot on goal. While he’s known for intense late-night workouts, Jágr’s exercise routine isn’t the only thing that keeps him solid and stable. “He finds ways to be stronger with his mind-set and spends a lot of time trying to find energy through activating chakras [energy points],” says Panthers strength and conditioning coach Tommy Powers. Powers also helps Jagr with other training techniques, such as Ki-Hara resistance stretching and mashing, a combination of Thai massage and other practices that increase blood flow and promote recovery. </p><p>Richard Jefferson, basketball</p><p>He may not be the marquee face of his team like a Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook, but Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson is definitely in the midst of his best NBA years yet—at the age of 36. Though he saw some success in his rookie season followed by a seven-year stint with the Nets, it was just last year that he finally earned his first NBA championship ring after playing on five different teams in five years. What’s more, his career is already three times as long as the average NBA player’s, and although he’s not the Cavs’ star player—that would be LeBron James—Jefferson has been able to revamp his career and succeed against much younger opponents thanks to a Southern California–influenced lifestyle change. In addition to regular weightlifting and other off-season workouts, Jefferson started playing beach volleyball and doing yoga, two adjustments that experts believe have been just as important to his late-career surge as his jump-shot accuracy and dunking abilities. </p><p>Kerri Walsh Jennings, beach volleyball</p><p>After two shoulder injuries, the three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings wasn’t sure if she’d be able to compete in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Despite those major setbacks, however, she was able to rehab back to world-class form by adding new methods to her training and preparation, all at the age of 38. Pilates, meditation, soft-tissue massage and even brain training—using Versus, a headset that collects and assesses cognitive performance—were part of her routine leading up to a bronze-medal finish in Rio with her teammate April Ross. Walsh Jennings’s sessions with trainer Eric Weldon also focused on strength training and mobility (particularly in her hips and upper spine), and on-court circuits honed specific volleyball skills. Top sand players tend to be older than most pro athletes, and Walsh Jennings still has not shown signs of slowing down, even after an improbable five tours—and four medals—at the Olympic Games. </p><p>Roger Federer, tennis</p><p>If you predicted that 35-year-old Roger Federer would win his 18th Grand Slam title—and his first in nearly five years—at the 2017 Australian Open, even the Swiss Maestro himself would’ve thought you were crazy. After a serious knee injury requiring a six-month layoff to recover, Federer pulled through to triumph despite it all. The surgery to repair his knee injury—the result of a freak accident while Federer was drawing a bath for his young daughters—was the first such procedure of his 19-year career, a testament to his superior fitness and durability. But while his work with longtime conditioning coach Pierre Paganini helped him regain his physical form, his strongest suit has always been his focused mindset and passion for tennis—mind over matter, as it were. Said Federer of his title in Melbourne, “Coming back, getting older, and people have written me off maybe, makes this one so unique.”</p>
When athletes beat the odds: These six stars are just getting better age

The following is an excerpt from TIME's new special edition, The Science of Exercise, available on Amazon and at retailers everywhere.

If you’ve ever opened a birthday card to a message that reads, “It’s all downhill from here,” you’re likely at an age when, according to popular opinion, your best days are behind you. For athletes, that comes even sooner—anywhere from age 20 to 29, depending on the sport. Still, there are outliers, elite athletes who thrive at a time when science says their physical prowess should be fading.

Their success doesn’t hinge solely on beating the physical decline that comes with age. All bodies naturally wear down with age—albeit at different rates, depending on many factors, from genetics to lifestyle. But because even the world’s top athletes can’t escape the bodily effects of Father Time, when their professional performance calls for speed, strength, power and agility, they must find ways to stay strong, maintain fitness and avoid injury.

That’s where the mind takes over. For many of those performing at an elite level—including the six pro athletes in the pages that follow—it’s mentality, cognitive abilities and pure willpower that propel them to excellence.

Venus Williams, tennis

When Venus Williams, now 36, looks over the net at her opponent during most tournaments, she’s likely looking at a player who was born around the time she started her pro tennis career in 1994. That is, of course, unless the match is against her younger sister Serena, who is 35. That’s what occurred during the 2017 Australian Open final, where her runner-up finish showed that even after seven major titles—and a 2011 diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that requires daily maintenance and can sap strength over time—Williams still competes against (and defeats) the best players in the game. To help her overcome illness and injury over the course of her 23-year career, she eats a mostly plant-based diet. To fuel her body for intense on-court hitting, she also trains with a mix of agility workouts, tennis-specific gym exercises and yoga. And when she’s not practicing her forehands and backhands, Williams keeps her body—and mind—in motion with some free-spirited dancing.

Tom Brady, football

You’ll certainly see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady participating in standard quarterback drills, but the five-time Super Bowl champion is also known to go above and beyond the team’s standard workout regimen. With the help of Alex Guerrero, his “body coach,” Brady focuses on lifestyle factors such as sleep and rest for optimal recovery, as well as meditation for a clearer mind and better self-awareness. His well-documented diet—heavy on plants and low on inflammation-boosting foods—is another key to his success. Brady eats mostly vegan; steers clear of caffeine, dairy, mushrooms and sugar; and avoids nightshades, such as tomatoes and eggplants. His approach may be unorthodox, but it works: at 39, Brady is in the best shape of his life—and has no plans to retire anytime soon.

Jaromír Jágr, hockey

Since his NHL start as an 18-year-old in 1990, Florida Panthers right-winger Jaromír Jágr has thrived thanks to his physical strength and remarkable vision and scoring abilities. On his 45th birthday in February 2017, Jágr became only the second player in NHL history to reach 1,900 career points, and the traits that made his career in the early days are still in play. To keep in shape, the Czech athlete engages in a mixed bag of training methods, each of which serve a specific purpose on the ice. Resistance-band sprints help build speed and acceleration, for instance, while shooting six- or eight-pound medicine balls against the wall with his hockey stick translates directly to his punishing shot on goal. While he’s known for intense late-night workouts, Jágr’s exercise routine isn’t the only thing that keeps him solid and stable. “He finds ways to be stronger with his mind-set and spends a lot of time trying to find energy through activating chakras [energy points],” says Panthers strength and conditioning coach Tommy Powers. Powers also helps Jagr with other training techniques, such as Ki-Hara resistance stretching and mashing, a combination of Thai massage and other practices that increase blood flow and promote recovery.

Richard Jefferson, basketball

He may not be the marquee face of his team like a Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook, but Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson is definitely in the midst of his best NBA years yet—at the age of 36. Though he saw some success in his rookie season followed by a seven-year stint with the Nets, it was just last year that he finally earned his first NBA championship ring after playing on five different teams in five years. What’s more, his career is already three times as long as the average NBA player’s, and although he’s not the Cavs’ star player—that would be LeBron James—Jefferson has been able to revamp his career and succeed against much younger opponents thanks to a Southern California–influenced lifestyle change. In addition to regular weightlifting and other off-season workouts, Jefferson started playing beach volleyball and doing yoga, two adjustments that experts believe have been just as important to his late-career surge as his jump-shot accuracy and dunking abilities.

Kerri Walsh Jennings, beach volleyball

After two shoulder injuries, the three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings wasn’t sure if she’d be able to compete in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Despite those major setbacks, however, she was able to rehab back to world-class form by adding new methods to her training and preparation, all at the age of 38. Pilates, meditation, soft-tissue massage and even brain training—using Versus, a headset that collects and assesses cognitive performance—were part of her routine leading up to a bronze-medal finish in Rio with her teammate April Ross. Walsh Jennings’s sessions with trainer Eric Weldon also focused on strength training and mobility (particularly in her hips and upper spine), and on-court circuits honed specific volleyball skills. Top sand players tend to be older than most pro athletes, and Walsh Jennings still has not shown signs of slowing down, even after an improbable five tours—and four medals—at the Olympic Games.

Roger Federer, tennis

If you predicted that 35-year-old Roger Federer would win his 18th Grand Slam title—and his first in nearly five years—at the 2017 Australian Open, even the Swiss Maestro himself would’ve thought you were crazy. After a serious knee injury requiring a six-month layoff to recover, Federer pulled through to triumph despite it all. The surgery to repair his knee injury—the result of a freak accident while Federer was drawing a bath for his young daughters—was the first such procedure of his 19-year career, a testament to his superior fitness and durability. But while his work with longtime conditioning coach Pierre Paganini helped him regain his physical form, his strongest suit has always been his focused mindset and passion for tennis—mind over matter, as it were. Said Federer of his title in Melbourne, “Coming back, getting older, and people have written me off maybe, makes this one so unique.”

<p><em>The following is an excerpt from TIME's new special edition, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683309839/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1683309839&linkId=340d400163029c0f436f62a0de3e66ab&tag=sitimescienceofexercise-20" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Science of Exercise" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Science of Exercise</a>, available on <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683309839/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1683309839&linkId=340d400163029c0f436f62a0de3e66ab&tag=sitimescienceofexercise-20" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a> and at retailers everywhere.</em></p><p>If you’ve ever opened a birthday card to a message that reads, “It’s all downhill from here,” you’re likely at an age when, according to popular opinion, your best days are behind you. For athletes, that comes even sooner—anywhere from age 20 to 29, depending on the sport. Still, there are outliers, elite athletes who thrive at a time when science says their physical prowess should be fading.</p><p>Their success doesn’t hinge solely on beating the physical decline that comes with age. All bodies naturally wear down with age—albeit at different rates, depending on many factors, from genetics to lifestyle. But because even the world’s top athletes can’t escape the bodily effects of Father Time, when their professional performance calls for speed, strength, power and agility, they must find ways to stay strong, maintain fitness and avoid injury.</p><p>That’s where the mind takes over. For many of those performing at an elite level—including the six pro athletes in the pages that follow—it’s mentality, cognitive abilities and pure willpower that propel them to excellence. </p><p>Venus Williams, tennis</p><p>When Venus Williams, now 36, looks over the net at her opponent during most tournaments, she’s likely looking at a player who was born around the time she started her pro tennis career in 1994. That is, of course, unless the match is against her younger sister Serena, who is 35. That’s what occurred during the 2017 Australian Open final, where her runner-up finish showed that even after seven major titles—and a 2011 diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that requires daily maintenance and can sap strength over time—Williams still competes against (and defeats) the best players in the game. To help her overcome illness and injury over the course of her 23-year career, she eats a mostly plant-based diet. To fuel her body for intense on-court hitting, she also trains with a mix of agility workouts, tennis-specific gym exercises and yoga. And when she’s not practicing her forehands and backhands, Williams keeps her body—and mind—in motion with some free-spirited dancing. </p><p>Tom Brady, football</p><p>You’ll certainly see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady participating in standard quarterback drills, but the five-time Super Bowl champion is also known to go above and beyond the team’s standard workout regimen. With the help of Alex Guerrero, his “body coach,” Brady focuses on lifestyle factors such as sleep and rest for optimal recovery, as well as meditation for a clearer mind and better self-awareness. His well-documented diet—heavy on plants and low on inflammation-boosting foods—is another key to his success. Brady eats mostly vegan; steers clear of caffeine, dairy, mushrooms and sugar; and avoids nightshades, such as tomatoes and eggplants. His approach may be unorthodox, but it works: at 39, Brady is in the best shape of his life—and has no plans to retire anytime soon. </p><p>Jaromír Jágr, hockey</p><p>Since his NHL start as an 18-year-old in 1990, Florida Panthers right-winger Jaromír Jágr has thrived thanks to his physical strength and remarkable vision and scoring abilities. On his 45th birthday in February 2017, Jágr became only the second player in NHL history to reach 1,900 career points, and the traits that made his career in the early days are still in play. To keep in shape, the Czech athlete engages in a mixed bag of training methods, each of which serve a specific purpose on the ice. Resistance-band sprints help build speed and acceleration, for instance, while shooting six- or eight-pound medicine balls against the wall with his hockey stick translates directly to his punishing shot on goal. While he’s known for intense late-night workouts, Jágr’s exercise routine isn’t the only thing that keeps him solid and stable. “He finds ways to be stronger with his mind-set and spends a lot of time trying to find energy through activating chakras [energy points],” says Panthers strength and conditioning coach Tommy Powers. Powers also helps Jagr with other training techniques, such as Ki-Hara resistance stretching and mashing, a combination of Thai massage and other practices that increase blood flow and promote recovery. </p><p>Richard Jefferson, basketball</p><p>He may not be the marquee face of his team like a Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook, but Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson is definitely in the midst of his best NBA years yet—at the age of 36. Though he saw some success in his rookie season followed by a seven-year stint with the Nets, it was just last year that he finally earned his first NBA championship ring after playing on five different teams in five years. What’s more, his career is already three times as long as the average NBA player’s, and although he’s not the Cavs’ star player—that would be LeBron James—Jefferson has been able to revamp his career and succeed against much younger opponents thanks to a Southern California–influenced lifestyle change. In addition to regular weightlifting and other off-season workouts, Jefferson started playing beach volleyball and doing yoga, two adjustments that experts believe have been just as important to his late-career surge as his jump-shot accuracy and dunking abilities. </p><p>Kerri Walsh Jennings, beach volleyball</p><p>After two shoulder injuries, the three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings wasn’t sure if she’d be able to compete in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Despite those major setbacks, however, she was able to rehab back to world-class form by adding new methods to her training and preparation, all at the age of 38. Pilates, meditation, soft-tissue massage and even brain training—using Versus, a headset that collects and assesses cognitive performance—were part of her routine leading up to a bronze-medal finish in Rio with her teammate April Ross. Walsh Jennings’s sessions with trainer Eric Weldon also focused on strength training and mobility (particularly in her hips and upper spine), and on-court circuits honed specific volleyball skills. Top sand players tend to be older than most pro athletes, and Walsh Jennings still has not shown signs of slowing down, even after an improbable five tours—and four medals—at the Olympic Games. </p><p>Roger Federer, tennis</p><p>If you predicted that 35-year-old Roger Federer would win his 18th Grand Slam title—and his first in nearly five years—at the 2017 Australian Open, even the Swiss Maestro himself would’ve thought you were crazy. After a serious knee injury requiring a six-month layoff to recover, Federer pulled through to triumph despite it all. The surgery to repair his knee injury—the result of a freak accident while Federer was drawing a bath for his young daughters—was the first such procedure of his 19-year career, a testament to his superior fitness and durability. But while his work with longtime conditioning coach Pierre Paganini helped him regain his physical form, his strongest suit has always been his focused mindset and passion for tennis—mind over matter, as it were. Said Federer of his title in Melbourne, “Coming back, getting older, and people have written me off maybe, makes this one so unique.”</p>
When athletes beat the odds: These six stars are just getting better age

The following is an excerpt from TIME's new special edition, The Science of Exercise, available on Amazon and at retailers everywhere.

If you’ve ever opened a birthday card to a message that reads, “It’s all downhill from here,” you’re likely at an age when, according to popular opinion, your best days are behind you. For athletes, that comes even sooner—anywhere from age 20 to 29, depending on the sport. Still, there are outliers, elite athletes who thrive at a time when science says their physical prowess should be fading.

Their success doesn’t hinge solely on beating the physical decline that comes with age. All bodies naturally wear down with age—albeit at different rates, depending on many factors, from genetics to lifestyle. But because even the world’s top athletes can’t escape the bodily effects of Father Time, when their professional performance calls for speed, strength, power and agility, they must find ways to stay strong, maintain fitness and avoid injury.

That’s where the mind takes over. For many of those performing at an elite level—including the six pro athletes in the pages that follow—it’s mentality, cognitive abilities and pure willpower that propel them to excellence.

Venus Williams, tennis

When Venus Williams, now 36, looks over the net at her opponent during most tournaments, she’s likely looking at a player who was born around the time she started her pro tennis career in 1994. That is, of course, unless the match is against her younger sister Serena, who is 35. That’s what occurred during the 2017 Australian Open final, where her runner-up finish showed that even after seven major titles—and a 2011 diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that requires daily maintenance and can sap strength over time—Williams still competes against (and defeats) the best players in the game. To help her overcome illness and injury over the course of her 23-year career, she eats a mostly plant-based diet. To fuel her body for intense on-court hitting, she also trains with a mix of agility workouts, tennis-specific gym exercises and yoga. And when she’s not practicing her forehands and backhands, Williams keeps her body—and mind—in motion with some free-spirited dancing.

Tom Brady, football

You’ll certainly see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady participating in standard quarterback drills, but the five-time Super Bowl champion is also known to go above and beyond the team’s standard workout regimen. With the help of Alex Guerrero, his “body coach,” Brady focuses on lifestyle factors such as sleep and rest for optimal recovery, as well as meditation for a clearer mind and better self-awareness. His well-documented diet—heavy on plants and low on inflammation-boosting foods—is another key to his success. Brady eats mostly vegan; steers clear of caffeine, dairy, mushrooms and sugar; and avoids nightshades, such as tomatoes and eggplants. His approach may be unorthodox, but it works: at 39, Brady is in the best shape of his life—and has no plans to retire anytime soon.

Jaromír Jágr, hockey

Since his NHL start as an 18-year-old in 1990, Florida Panthers right-winger Jaromír Jágr has thrived thanks to his physical strength and remarkable vision and scoring abilities. On his 45th birthday in February 2017, Jágr became only the second player in NHL history to reach 1,900 career points, and the traits that made his career in the early days are still in play. To keep in shape, the Czech athlete engages in a mixed bag of training methods, each of which serve a specific purpose on the ice. Resistance-band sprints help build speed and acceleration, for instance, while shooting six- or eight-pound medicine balls against the wall with his hockey stick translates directly to his punishing shot on goal. While he’s known for intense late-night workouts, Jágr’s exercise routine isn’t the only thing that keeps him solid and stable. “He finds ways to be stronger with his mind-set and spends a lot of time trying to find energy through activating chakras [energy points],” says Panthers strength and conditioning coach Tommy Powers. Powers also helps Jagr with other training techniques, such as Ki-Hara resistance stretching and mashing, a combination of Thai massage and other practices that increase blood flow and promote recovery.

Richard Jefferson, basketball

He may not be the marquee face of his team like a Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook, but Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson is definitely in the midst of his best NBA years yet—at the age of 36. Though he saw some success in his rookie season followed by a seven-year stint with the Nets, it was just last year that he finally earned his first NBA championship ring after playing on five different teams in five years. What’s more, his career is already three times as long as the average NBA player’s, and although he’s not the Cavs’ star player—that would be LeBron James—Jefferson has been able to revamp his career and succeed against much younger opponents thanks to a Southern California–influenced lifestyle change. In addition to regular weightlifting and other off-season workouts, Jefferson started playing beach volleyball and doing yoga, two adjustments that experts believe have been just as important to his late-career surge as his jump-shot accuracy and dunking abilities.

Kerri Walsh Jennings, beach volleyball

After two shoulder injuries, the three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings wasn’t sure if she’d be able to compete in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Despite those major setbacks, however, she was able to rehab back to world-class form by adding new methods to her training and preparation, all at the age of 38. Pilates, meditation, soft-tissue massage and even brain training—using Versus, a headset that collects and assesses cognitive performance—were part of her routine leading up to a bronze-medal finish in Rio with her teammate April Ross. Walsh Jennings’s sessions with trainer Eric Weldon also focused on strength training and mobility (particularly in her hips and upper spine), and on-court circuits honed specific volleyball skills. Top sand players tend to be older than most pro athletes, and Walsh Jennings still has not shown signs of slowing down, even after an improbable five tours—and four medals—at the Olympic Games.

Roger Federer, tennis

If you predicted that 35-year-old Roger Federer would win his 18th Grand Slam title—and his first in nearly five years—at the 2017 Australian Open, even the Swiss Maestro himself would’ve thought you were crazy. After a serious knee injury requiring a six-month layoff to recover, Federer pulled through to triumph despite it all. The surgery to repair his knee injury—the result of a freak accident while Federer was drawing a bath for his young daughters—was the first such procedure of his 19-year career, a testament to his superior fitness and durability. But while his work with longtime conditioning coach Pierre Paganini helped him regain his physical form, his strongest suit has always been his focused mindset and passion for tennis—mind over matter, as it were. Said Federer of his title in Melbourne, “Coming back, getting older, and people have written me off maybe, makes this one so unique.”

<p><em>The following is an excerpt from TIME's new special edition, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683309839/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1683309839&linkId=340d400163029c0f436f62a0de3e66ab&tag=sitimescienceofexercise-20" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Science of Exercise" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Science of Exercise</a>, available on <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683309839/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1683309839&linkId=340d400163029c0f436f62a0de3e66ab&tag=sitimescienceofexercise-20" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a> and at retailers everywhere.</em></p><p>If you’ve ever opened a birthday card to a message that reads, “It’s all downhill from here,” you’re likely at an age when, according to popular opinion, your best days are behind you. For athletes, that comes even sooner—anywhere from age 20 to 29, depending on the sport. Still, there are outliers, elite athletes who thrive at a time when science says their physical prowess should be fading.</p><p>Their success doesn’t hinge solely on beating the physical decline that comes with age. All bodies naturally wear down with age—albeit at different rates, depending on many factors, from genetics to lifestyle. But because even the world’s top athletes can’t escape the bodily effects of Father Time, when their professional performance calls for speed, strength, power and agility, they must find ways to stay strong, maintain fitness and avoid injury.</p><p>That’s where the mind takes over. For many of those performing at an elite level—including the six pro athletes in the pages that follow—it’s mentality, cognitive abilities and pure willpower that propel them to excellence. </p><p>Venus Williams, tennis</p><p>When Venus Williams, now 36, looks over the net at her opponent during most tournaments, she’s likely looking at a player who was born around the time she started her pro tennis career in 1994. That is, of course, unless the match is against her younger sister Serena, who is 35. That’s what occurred during the 2017 Australian Open final, where her runner-up finish showed that even after seven major titles—and a 2011 diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that requires daily maintenance and can sap strength over time—Williams still competes against (and defeats) the best players in the game. To help her overcome illness and injury over the course of her 23-year career, she eats a mostly plant-based diet. To fuel her body for intense on-court hitting, she also trains with a mix of agility workouts, tennis-specific gym exercises and yoga. And when she’s not practicing her forehands and backhands, Williams keeps her body—and mind—in motion with some free-spirited dancing. </p><p>Tom Brady, football</p><p>You’ll certainly see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady participating in standard quarterback drills, but the five-time Super Bowl champion is also known to go above and beyond the team’s standard workout regimen. With the help of Alex Guerrero, his “body coach,” Brady focuses on lifestyle factors such as sleep and rest for optimal recovery, as well as meditation for a clearer mind and better self-awareness. His well-documented diet—heavy on plants and low on inflammation-boosting foods—is another key to his success. Brady eats mostly vegan; steers clear of caffeine, dairy, mushrooms and sugar; and avoids nightshades, such as tomatoes and eggplants. His approach may be unorthodox, but it works: at 39, Brady is in the best shape of his life—and has no plans to retire anytime soon. </p><p>Jaromír Jágr, hockey</p><p>Since his NHL start as an 18-year-old in 1990, Florida Panthers right-winger Jaromír Jágr has thrived thanks to his physical strength and remarkable vision and scoring abilities. On his 45th birthday in February 2017, Jágr became only the second player in NHL history to reach 1,900 career points, and the traits that made his career in the early days are still in play. To keep in shape, the Czech athlete engages in a mixed bag of training methods, each of which serve a specific purpose on the ice. Resistance-band sprints help build speed and acceleration, for instance, while shooting six- or eight-pound medicine balls against the wall with his hockey stick translates directly to his punishing shot on goal. While he’s known for intense late-night workouts, Jágr’s exercise routine isn’t the only thing that keeps him solid and stable. “He finds ways to be stronger with his mind-set and spends a lot of time trying to find energy through activating chakras [energy points],” says Panthers strength and conditioning coach Tommy Powers. Powers also helps Jagr with other training techniques, such as Ki-Hara resistance stretching and mashing, a combination of Thai massage and other practices that increase blood flow and promote recovery. </p><p>Richard Jefferson, basketball</p><p>He may not be the marquee face of his team like a Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook, but Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson is definitely in the midst of his best NBA years yet—at the age of 36. Though he saw some success in his rookie season followed by a seven-year stint with the Nets, it was just last year that he finally earned his first NBA championship ring after playing on five different teams in five years. What’s more, his career is already three times as long as the average NBA player’s, and although he’s not the Cavs’ star player—that would be LeBron James—Jefferson has been able to revamp his career and succeed against much younger opponents thanks to a Southern California–influenced lifestyle change. In addition to regular weightlifting and other off-season workouts, Jefferson started playing beach volleyball and doing yoga, two adjustments that experts believe have been just as important to his late-career surge as his jump-shot accuracy and dunking abilities. </p><p>Kerri Walsh Jennings, beach volleyball</p><p>After two shoulder injuries, the three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings wasn’t sure if she’d be able to compete in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Despite those major setbacks, however, she was able to rehab back to world-class form by adding new methods to her training and preparation, all at the age of 38. Pilates, meditation, soft-tissue massage and even brain training—using Versus, a headset that collects and assesses cognitive performance—were part of her routine leading up to a bronze-medal finish in Rio with her teammate April Ross. Walsh Jennings’s sessions with trainer Eric Weldon also focused on strength training and mobility (particularly in her hips and upper spine), and on-court circuits honed specific volleyball skills. Top sand players tend to be older than most pro athletes, and Walsh Jennings still has not shown signs of slowing down, even after an improbable five tours—and four medals—at the Olympic Games. </p><p>Roger Federer, tennis</p><p>If you predicted that 35-year-old Roger Federer would win his 18th Grand Slam title—and his first in nearly five years—at the 2017 Australian Open, even the Swiss Maestro himself would’ve thought you were crazy. After a serious knee injury requiring a six-month layoff to recover, Federer pulled through to triumph despite it all. The surgery to repair his knee injury—the result of a freak accident while Federer was drawing a bath for his young daughters—was the first such procedure of his 19-year career, a testament to his superior fitness and durability. But while his work with longtime conditioning coach Pierre Paganini helped him regain his physical form, his strongest suit has always been his focused mindset and passion for tennis—mind over matter, as it were. Said Federer of his title in Melbourne, “Coming back, getting older, and people have written me off maybe, makes this one so unique.”</p>
When athletes beat the odds: These six stars are just getting better age

The following is an excerpt from TIME's new special edition, The Science of Exercise, available on Amazon and at retailers everywhere.

If you’ve ever opened a birthday card to a message that reads, “It’s all downhill from here,” you’re likely at an age when, according to popular opinion, your best days are behind you. For athletes, that comes even sooner—anywhere from age 20 to 29, depending on the sport. Still, there are outliers, elite athletes who thrive at a time when science says their physical prowess should be fading.

Their success doesn’t hinge solely on beating the physical decline that comes with age. All bodies naturally wear down with age—albeit at different rates, depending on many factors, from genetics to lifestyle. But because even the world’s top athletes can’t escape the bodily effects of Father Time, when their professional performance calls for speed, strength, power and agility, they must find ways to stay strong, maintain fitness and avoid injury.

That’s where the mind takes over. For many of those performing at an elite level—including the six pro athletes in the pages that follow—it’s mentality, cognitive abilities and pure willpower that propel them to excellence.

Venus Williams, tennis

When Venus Williams, now 36, looks over the net at her opponent during most tournaments, she’s likely looking at a player who was born around the time she started her pro tennis career in 1994. That is, of course, unless the match is against her younger sister Serena, who is 35. That’s what occurred during the 2017 Australian Open final, where her runner-up finish showed that even after seven major titles—and a 2011 diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that requires daily maintenance and can sap strength over time—Williams still competes against (and defeats) the best players in the game. To help her overcome illness and injury over the course of her 23-year career, she eats a mostly plant-based diet. To fuel her body for intense on-court hitting, she also trains with a mix of agility workouts, tennis-specific gym exercises and yoga. And when she’s not practicing her forehands and backhands, Williams keeps her body—and mind—in motion with some free-spirited dancing.

Tom Brady, football

You’ll certainly see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady participating in standard quarterback drills, but the five-time Super Bowl champion is also known to go above and beyond the team’s standard workout regimen. With the help of Alex Guerrero, his “body coach,” Brady focuses on lifestyle factors such as sleep and rest for optimal recovery, as well as meditation for a clearer mind and better self-awareness. His well-documented diet—heavy on plants and low on inflammation-boosting foods—is another key to his success. Brady eats mostly vegan; steers clear of caffeine, dairy, mushrooms and sugar; and avoids nightshades, such as tomatoes and eggplants. His approach may be unorthodox, but it works: at 39, Brady is in the best shape of his life—and has no plans to retire anytime soon.

Jaromír Jágr, hockey

Since his NHL start as an 18-year-old in 1990, Florida Panthers right-winger Jaromír Jágr has thrived thanks to his physical strength and remarkable vision and scoring abilities. On his 45th birthday in February 2017, Jágr became only the second player in NHL history to reach 1,900 career points, and the traits that made his career in the early days are still in play. To keep in shape, the Czech athlete engages in a mixed bag of training methods, each of which serve a specific purpose on the ice. Resistance-band sprints help build speed and acceleration, for instance, while shooting six- or eight-pound medicine balls against the wall with his hockey stick translates directly to his punishing shot on goal. While he’s known for intense late-night workouts, Jágr’s exercise routine isn’t the only thing that keeps him solid and stable. “He finds ways to be stronger with his mind-set and spends a lot of time trying to find energy through activating chakras [energy points],” says Panthers strength and conditioning coach Tommy Powers. Powers also helps Jagr with other training techniques, such as Ki-Hara resistance stretching and mashing, a combination of Thai massage and other practices that increase blood flow and promote recovery.

Richard Jefferson, basketball

He may not be the marquee face of his team like a Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook, but Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson is definitely in the midst of his best NBA years yet—at the age of 36. Though he saw some success in his rookie season followed by a seven-year stint with the Nets, it was just last year that he finally earned his first NBA championship ring after playing on five different teams in five years. What’s more, his career is already three times as long as the average NBA player’s, and although he’s not the Cavs’ star player—that would be LeBron James—Jefferson has been able to revamp his career and succeed against much younger opponents thanks to a Southern California–influenced lifestyle change. In addition to regular weightlifting and other off-season workouts, Jefferson started playing beach volleyball and doing yoga, two adjustments that experts believe have been just as important to his late-career surge as his jump-shot accuracy and dunking abilities.

Kerri Walsh Jennings, beach volleyball

After two shoulder injuries, the three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings wasn’t sure if she’d be able to compete in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Despite those major setbacks, however, she was able to rehab back to world-class form by adding new methods to her training and preparation, all at the age of 38. Pilates, meditation, soft-tissue massage and even brain training—using Versus, a headset that collects and assesses cognitive performance—were part of her routine leading up to a bronze-medal finish in Rio with her teammate April Ross. Walsh Jennings’s sessions with trainer Eric Weldon also focused on strength training and mobility (particularly in her hips and upper spine), and on-court circuits honed specific volleyball skills. Top sand players tend to be older than most pro athletes, and Walsh Jennings still has not shown signs of slowing down, even after an improbable five tours—and four medals—at the Olympic Games.

Roger Federer, tennis

If you predicted that 35-year-old Roger Federer would win his 18th Grand Slam title—and his first in nearly five years—at the 2017 Australian Open, even the Swiss Maestro himself would’ve thought you were crazy. After a serious knee injury requiring a six-month layoff to recover, Federer pulled through to triumph despite it all. The surgery to repair his knee injury—the result of a freak accident while Federer was drawing a bath for his young daughters—was the first such procedure of his 19-year career, a testament to his superior fitness and durability. But while his work with longtime conditioning coach Pierre Paganini helped him regain his physical form, his strongest suit has always been his focused mindset and passion for tennis—mind over matter, as it were. Said Federer of his title in Melbourne, “Coming back, getting older, and people have written me off maybe, makes this one so unique.”

<p><em>The following is an excerpt from TIME's new special edition, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683309839/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1683309839&linkId=340d400163029c0f436f62a0de3e66ab&tag=sitimescienceofexercise-20" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Science of Exercise" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Science of Exercise</a>, available on <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683309839/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1683309839&linkId=340d400163029c0f436f62a0de3e66ab&tag=sitimescienceofexercise-20" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a> and at retailers everywhere.</em></p><p>If you’ve ever opened a birthday card to a message that reads, “It’s all downhill from here,” you’re likely at an age when, according to popular opinion, your best days are behind you. For athletes, that comes even sooner—anywhere from age 20 to 29, depending on the sport. Still, there are outliers, elite athletes who thrive at a time when science says their physical prowess should be fading.</p><p>Their success doesn’t hinge solely on beating the physical decline that comes with age. All bodies naturally wear down with age—albeit at different rates, depending on many factors, from genetics to lifestyle. But because even the world’s top athletes can’t escape the bodily effects of Father Time, when their professional performance calls for speed, strength, power and agility, they must find ways to stay strong, maintain fitness and avoid injury.</p><p>That’s where the mind takes over. For many of those performing at an elite level—including the six pro athletes in the pages that follow—it’s mentality, cognitive abilities and pure willpower that propel them to excellence. </p><p>Venus Williams, tennis</p><p>When Venus Williams, now 36, looks over the net at her opponent during most tournaments, she’s likely looking at a player who was born around the time she started her pro tennis career in 1994. That is, of course, unless the match is against her younger sister Serena, who is 35. That’s what occurred during the 2017 Australian Open final, where her runner-up finish showed that even after seven major titles—and a 2011 diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that requires daily maintenance and can sap strength over time—Williams still competes against (and defeats) the best players in the game. To help her overcome illness and injury over the course of her 23-year career, she eats a mostly plant-based diet. To fuel her body for intense on-court hitting, she also trains with a mix of agility workouts, tennis-specific gym exercises and yoga. And when she’s not practicing her forehands and backhands, Williams keeps her body—and mind—in motion with some free-spirited dancing. </p><p>Tom Brady, football</p><p>You’ll certainly see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady participating in standard quarterback drills, but the five-time Super Bowl champion is also known to go above and beyond the team’s standard workout regimen. With the help of Alex Guerrero, his “body coach,” Brady focuses on lifestyle factors such as sleep and rest for optimal recovery, as well as meditation for a clearer mind and better self-awareness. His well-documented diet—heavy on plants and low on inflammation-boosting foods—is another key to his success. Brady eats mostly vegan; steers clear of caffeine, dairy, mushrooms and sugar; and avoids nightshades, such as tomatoes and eggplants. His approach may be unorthodox, but it works: at 39, Brady is in the best shape of his life—and has no plans to retire anytime soon. </p><p>Jaromír Jágr, hockey</p><p>Since his NHL start as an 18-year-old in 1990, Florida Panthers right-winger Jaromír Jágr has thrived thanks to his physical strength and remarkable vision and scoring abilities. On his 45th birthday in February 2017, Jágr became only the second player in NHL history to reach 1,900 career points, and the traits that made his career in the early days are still in play. To keep in shape, the Czech athlete engages in a mixed bag of training methods, each of which serve a specific purpose on the ice. Resistance-band sprints help build speed and acceleration, for instance, while shooting six- or eight-pound medicine balls against the wall with his hockey stick translates directly to his punishing shot on goal. While he’s known for intense late-night workouts, Jágr’s exercise routine isn’t the only thing that keeps him solid and stable. “He finds ways to be stronger with his mind-set and spends a lot of time trying to find energy through activating chakras [energy points],” says Panthers strength and conditioning coach Tommy Powers. Powers also helps Jagr with other training techniques, such as Ki-Hara resistance stretching and mashing, a combination of Thai massage and other practices that increase blood flow and promote recovery. </p><p>Richard Jefferson, basketball</p><p>He may not be the marquee face of his team like a Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook, but Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson is definitely in the midst of his best NBA years yet—at the age of 36. Though he saw some success in his rookie season followed by a seven-year stint with the Nets, it was just last year that he finally earned his first NBA championship ring after playing on five different teams in five years. What’s more, his career is already three times as long as the average NBA player’s, and although he’s not the Cavs’ star player—that would be LeBron James—Jefferson has been able to revamp his career and succeed against much younger opponents thanks to a Southern California–influenced lifestyle change. In addition to regular weightlifting and other off-season workouts, Jefferson started playing beach volleyball and doing yoga, two adjustments that experts believe have been just as important to his late-career surge as his jump-shot accuracy and dunking abilities. </p><p>Kerri Walsh Jennings, beach volleyball</p><p>After two shoulder injuries, the three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings wasn’t sure if she’d be able to compete in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Despite those major setbacks, however, she was able to rehab back to world-class form by adding new methods to her training and preparation, all at the age of 38. Pilates, meditation, soft-tissue massage and even brain training—using Versus, a headset that collects and assesses cognitive performance—were part of her routine leading up to a bronze-medal finish in Rio with her teammate April Ross. Walsh Jennings’s sessions with trainer Eric Weldon also focused on strength training and mobility (particularly in her hips and upper spine), and on-court circuits honed specific volleyball skills. Top sand players tend to be older than most pro athletes, and Walsh Jennings still has not shown signs of slowing down, even after an improbable five tours—and four medals—at the Olympic Games. </p><p>Roger Federer, tennis</p><p>If you predicted that 35-year-old Roger Federer would win his 18th Grand Slam title—and his first in nearly five years—at the 2017 Australian Open, even the Swiss Maestro himself would’ve thought you were crazy. After a serious knee injury requiring a six-month layoff to recover, Federer pulled through to triumph despite it all. The surgery to repair his knee injury—the result of a freak accident while Federer was drawing a bath for his young daughters—was the first such procedure of his 19-year career, a testament to his superior fitness and durability. But while his work with longtime conditioning coach Pierre Paganini helped him regain his physical form, his strongest suit has always been his focused mindset and passion for tennis—mind over matter, as it were. Said Federer of his title in Melbourne, “Coming back, getting older, and people have written me off maybe, makes this one so unique.”</p>
When athletes beat the odds: These six stars are just getting better age

The following is an excerpt from TIME's new special edition, The Science of Exercise, available on Amazon and at retailers everywhere.

If you’ve ever opened a birthday card to a message that reads, “It’s all downhill from here,” you’re likely at an age when, according to popular opinion, your best days are behind you. For athletes, that comes even sooner—anywhere from age 20 to 29, depending on the sport. Still, there are outliers, elite athletes who thrive at a time when science says their physical prowess should be fading.

Their success doesn’t hinge solely on beating the physical decline that comes with age. All bodies naturally wear down with age—albeit at different rates, depending on many factors, from genetics to lifestyle. But because even the world’s top athletes can’t escape the bodily effects of Father Time, when their professional performance calls for speed, strength, power and agility, they must find ways to stay strong, maintain fitness and avoid injury.

That’s where the mind takes over. For many of those performing at an elite level—including the six pro athletes in the pages that follow—it’s mentality, cognitive abilities and pure willpower that propel them to excellence.

Venus Williams, tennis

When Venus Williams, now 36, looks over the net at her opponent during most tournaments, she’s likely looking at a player who was born around the time she started her pro tennis career in 1994. That is, of course, unless the match is against her younger sister Serena, who is 35. That’s what occurred during the 2017 Australian Open final, where her runner-up finish showed that even after seven major titles—and a 2011 diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that requires daily maintenance and can sap strength over time—Williams still competes against (and defeats) the best players in the game. To help her overcome illness and injury over the course of her 23-year career, she eats a mostly plant-based diet. To fuel her body for intense on-court hitting, she also trains with a mix of agility workouts, tennis-specific gym exercises and yoga. And when she’s not practicing her forehands and backhands, Williams keeps her body—and mind—in motion with some free-spirited dancing.

Tom Brady, football

You’ll certainly see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady participating in standard quarterback drills, but the five-time Super Bowl champion is also known to go above and beyond the team’s standard workout regimen. With the help of Alex Guerrero, his “body coach,” Brady focuses on lifestyle factors such as sleep and rest for optimal recovery, as well as meditation for a clearer mind and better self-awareness. His well-documented diet—heavy on plants and low on inflammation-boosting foods—is another key to his success. Brady eats mostly vegan; steers clear of caffeine, dairy, mushrooms and sugar; and avoids nightshades, such as tomatoes and eggplants. His approach may be unorthodox, but it works: at 39, Brady is in the best shape of his life—and has no plans to retire anytime soon.

Jaromír Jágr, hockey

Since his NHL start as an 18-year-old in 1990, Florida Panthers right-winger Jaromír Jágr has thrived thanks to his physical strength and remarkable vision and scoring abilities. On his 45th birthday in February 2017, Jágr became only the second player in NHL history to reach 1,900 career points, and the traits that made his career in the early days are still in play. To keep in shape, the Czech athlete engages in a mixed bag of training methods, each of which serve a specific purpose on the ice. Resistance-band sprints help build speed and acceleration, for instance, while shooting six- or eight-pound medicine balls against the wall with his hockey stick translates directly to his punishing shot on goal. While he’s known for intense late-night workouts, Jágr’s exercise routine isn’t the only thing that keeps him solid and stable. “He finds ways to be stronger with his mind-set and spends a lot of time trying to find energy through activating chakras [energy points],” says Panthers strength and conditioning coach Tommy Powers. Powers also helps Jagr with other training techniques, such as Ki-Hara resistance stretching and mashing, a combination of Thai massage and other practices that increase blood flow and promote recovery.

Richard Jefferson, basketball

He may not be the marquee face of his team like a Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook, but Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson is definitely in the midst of his best NBA years yet—at the age of 36. Though he saw some success in his rookie season followed by a seven-year stint with the Nets, it was just last year that he finally earned his first NBA championship ring after playing on five different teams in five years. What’s more, his career is already three times as long as the average NBA player’s, and although he’s not the Cavs’ star player—that would be LeBron James—Jefferson has been able to revamp his career and succeed against much younger opponents thanks to a Southern California–influenced lifestyle change. In addition to regular weightlifting and other off-season workouts, Jefferson started playing beach volleyball and doing yoga, two adjustments that experts believe have been just as important to his late-career surge as his jump-shot accuracy and dunking abilities.

Kerri Walsh Jennings, beach volleyball

After two shoulder injuries, the three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings wasn’t sure if she’d be able to compete in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Despite those major setbacks, however, she was able to rehab back to world-class form by adding new methods to her training and preparation, all at the age of 38. Pilates, meditation, soft-tissue massage and even brain training—using Versus, a headset that collects and assesses cognitive performance—were part of her routine leading up to a bronze-medal finish in Rio with her teammate April Ross. Walsh Jennings’s sessions with trainer Eric Weldon also focused on strength training and mobility (particularly in her hips and upper spine), and on-court circuits honed specific volleyball skills. Top sand players tend to be older than most pro athletes, and Walsh Jennings still has not shown signs of slowing down, even after an improbable five tours—and four medals—at the Olympic Games.

Roger Federer, tennis

If you predicted that 35-year-old Roger Federer would win his 18th Grand Slam title—and his first in nearly five years—at the 2017 Australian Open, even the Swiss Maestro himself would’ve thought you were crazy. After a serious knee injury requiring a six-month layoff to recover, Federer pulled through to triumph despite it all. The surgery to repair his knee injury—the result of a freak accident while Federer was drawing a bath for his young daughters—was the first such procedure of his 19-year career, a testament to his superior fitness and durability. But while his work with longtime conditioning coach Pierre Paganini helped him regain his physical form, his strongest suit has always been his focused mindset and passion for tennis—mind over matter, as it were. Said Federer of his title in Melbourne, “Coming back, getting older, and people have written me off maybe, makes this one so unique.”

<p><em>The following is an excerpt from TIME's new special edition, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683309839/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1683309839&linkId=340d400163029c0f436f62a0de3e66ab&tag=sitimescienceofexercise-20" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Science of Exercise" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Science of Exercise</a>, available on <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683309839/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1683309839&linkId=340d400163029c0f436f62a0de3e66ab&tag=sitimescienceofexercise-20" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a> and at retailers everywhere.</em></p><p>If you’ve ever opened a birthday card to a message that reads, “It’s all downhill from here,” you’re likely at an age when, according to popular opinion, your best days are behind you. For athletes, that comes even sooner—anywhere from age 20 to 29, depending on the sport. Still, there are outliers, elite athletes who thrive at a time when science says their physical prowess should be fading.</p><p>Their success doesn’t hinge solely on beating the physical decline that comes with age. All bodies naturally wear down with age—albeit at different rates, depending on many factors, from genetics to lifestyle. But because even the world’s top athletes can’t escape the bodily effects of Father Time, when their professional performance calls for speed, strength, power and agility, they must find ways to stay strong, maintain fitness and avoid injury.</p><p>That’s where the mind takes over. For many of those performing at an elite level—including the six pro athletes in the pages that follow—it’s mentality, cognitive abilities and pure willpower that propel them to excellence. </p><p>Venus Williams, tennis</p><p>When Venus Williams, now 36, looks over the net at her opponent during most tournaments, she’s likely looking at a player who was born around the time she started her pro tennis career in 1994. That is, of course, unless the match is against her younger sister Serena, who is 35. That’s what occurred during the 2017 Australian Open final, where her runner-up finish showed that even after seven major titles—and a 2011 diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that requires daily maintenance and can sap strength over time—Williams still competes against (and defeats) the best players in the game. To help her overcome illness and injury over the course of her 23-year career, she eats a mostly plant-based diet. To fuel her body for intense on-court hitting, she also trains with a mix of agility workouts, tennis-specific gym exercises and yoga. And when she’s not practicing her forehands and backhands, Williams keeps her body—and mind—in motion with some free-spirited dancing. </p><p>Tom Brady, football</p><p>You’ll certainly see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady participating in standard quarterback drills, but the five-time Super Bowl champion is also known to go above and beyond the team’s standard workout regimen. With the help of Alex Guerrero, his “body coach,” Brady focuses on lifestyle factors such as sleep and rest for optimal recovery, as well as meditation for a clearer mind and better self-awareness. His well-documented diet—heavy on plants and low on inflammation-boosting foods—is another key to his success. Brady eats mostly vegan; steers clear of caffeine, dairy, mushrooms and sugar; and avoids nightshades, such as tomatoes and eggplants. His approach may be unorthodox, but it works: at 39, Brady is in the best shape of his life—and has no plans to retire anytime soon. </p><p>Jaromír Jágr, hockey</p><p>Since his NHL start as an 18-year-old in 1990, Florida Panthers right-winger Jaromír Jágr has thrived thanks to his physical strength and remarkable vision and scoring abilities. On his 45th birthday in February 2017, Jágr became only the second player in NHL history to reach 1,900 career points, and the traits that made his career in the early days are still in play. To keep in shape, the Czech athlete engages in a mixed bag of training methods, each of which serve a specific purpose on the ice. Resistance-band sprints help build speed and acceleration, for instance, while shooting six- or eight-pound medicine balls against the wall with his hockey stick translates directly to his punishing shot on goal. While he’s known for intense late-night workouts, Jágr’s exercise routine isn’t the only thing that keeps him solid and stable. “He finds ways to be stronger with his mind-set and spends a lot of time trying to find energy through activating chakras [energy points],” says Panthers strength and conditioning coach Tommy Powers. Powers also helps Jagr with other training techniques, such as Ki-Hara resistance stretching and mashing, a combination of Thai massage and other practices that increase blood flow and promote recovery. </p><p>Richard Jefferson, basketball</p><p>He may not be the marquee face of his team like a Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook, but Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson is definitely in the midst of his best NBA years yet—at the age of 36. Though he saw some success in his rookie season followed by a seven-year stint with the Nets, it was just last year that he finally earned his first NBA championship ring after playing on five different teams in five years. What’s more, his career is already three times as long as the average NBA player’s, and although he’s not the Cavs’ star player—that would be LeBron James—Jefferson has been able to revamp his career and succeed against much younger opponents thanks to a Southern California–influenced lifestyle change. In addition to regular weightlifting and other off-season workouts, Jefferson started playing beach volleyball and doing yoga, two adjustments that experts believe have been just as important to his late-career surge as his jump-shot accuracy and dunking abilities. </p><p>Kerri Walsh Jennings, beach volleyball</p><p>After two shoulder injuries, the three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings wasn’t sure if she’d be able to compete in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Despite those major setbacks, however, she was able to rehab back to world-class form by adding new methods to her training and preparation, all at the age of 38. Pilates, meditation, soft-tissue massage and even brain training—using Versus, a headset that collects and assesses cognitive performance—were part of her routine leading up to a bronze-medal finish in Rio with her teammate April Ross. Walsh Jennings’s sessions with trainer Eric Weldon also focused on strength training and mobility (particularly in her hips and upper spine), and on-court circuits honed specific volleyball skills. Top sand players tend to be older than most pro athletes, and Walsh Jennings still has not shown signs of slowing down, even after an improbable five tours—and four medals—at the Olympic Games. </p><p>Roger Federer, tennis</p><p>If you predicted that 35-year-old Roger Federer would win his 18th Grand Slam title—and his first in nearly five years—at the 2017 Australian Open, even the Swiss Maestro himself would’ve thought you were crazy. After a serious knee injury requiring a six-month layoff to recover, Federer pulled through to triumph despite it all. The surgery to repair his knee injury—the result of a freak accident while Federer was drawing a bath for his young daughters—was the first such procedure of his 19-year career, a testament to his superior fitness and durability. But while his work with longtime conditioning coach Pierre Paganini helped him regain his physical form, his strongest suit has always been his focused mindset and passion for tennis—mind over matter, as it were. Said Federer of his title in Melbourne, “Coming back, getting older, and people have written me off maybe, makes this one so unique.”</p>
When athletes beat the odds: These six stars are just getting better age

The following is an excerpt from TIME's new special edition, The Science of Exercise, available on Amazon and at retailers everywhere.

If you’ve ever opened a birthday card to a message that reads, “It’s all downhill from here,” you’re likely at an age when, according to popular opinion, your best days are behind you. For athletes, that comes even sooner—anywhere from age 20 to 29, depending on the sport. Still, there are outliers, elite athletes who thrive at a time when science says their physical prowess should be fading.

Their success doesn’t hinge solely on beating the physical decline that comes with age. All bodies naturally wear down with age—albeit at different rates, depending on many factors, from genetics to lifestyle. But because even the world’s top athletes can’t escape the bodily effects of Father Time, when their professional performance calls for speed, strength, power and agility, they must find ways to stay strong, maintain fitness and avoid injury.

That’s where the mind takes over. For many of those performing at an elite level—including the six pro athletes in the pages that follow—it’s mentality, cognitive abilities and pure willpower that propel them to excellence.

Venus Williams, tennis

When Venus Williams, now 36, looks over the net at her opponent during most tournaments, she’s likely looking at a player who was born around the time she started her pro tennis career in 1994. That is, of course, unless the match is against her younger sister Serena, who is 35. That’s what occurred during the 2017 Australian Open final, where her runner-up finish showed that even after seven major titles—and a 2011 diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that requires daily maintenance and can sap strength over time—Williams still competes against (and defeats) the best players in the game. To help her overcome illness and injury over the course of her 23-year career, she eats a mostly plant-based diet. To fuel her body for intense on-court hitting, she also trains with a mix of agility workouts, tennis-specific gym exercises and yoga. And when she’s not practicing her forehands and backhands, Williams keeps her body—and mind—in motion with some free-spirited dancing.

Tom Brady, football

You’ll certainly see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady participating in standard quarterback drills, but the five-time Super Bowl champion is also known to go above and beyond the team’s standard workout regimen. With the help of Alex Guerrero, his “body coach,” Brady focuses on lifestyle factors such as sleep and rest for optimal recovery, as well as meditation for a clearer mind and better self-awareness. His well-documented diet—heavy on plants and low on inflammation-boosting foods—is another key to his success. Brady eats mostly vegan; steers clear of caffeine, dairy, mushrooms and sugar; and avoids nightshades, such as tomatoes and eggplants. His approach may be unorthodox, but it works: at 39, Brady is in the best shape of his life—and has no plans to retire anytime soon.

Jaromír Jágr, hockey

Since his NHL start as an 18-year-old in 1990, Florida Panthers right-winger Jaromír Jágr has thrived thanks to his physical strength and remarkable vision and scoring abilities. On his 45th birthday in February 2017, Jágr became only the second player in NHL history to reach 1,900 career points, and the traits that made his career in the early days are still in play. To keep in shape, the Czech athlete engages in a mixed bag of training methods, each of which serve a specific purpose on the ice. Resistance-band sprints help build speed and acceleration, for instance, while shooting six- or eight-pound medicine balls against the wall with his hockey stick translates directly to his punishing shot on goal. While he’s known for intense late-night workouts, Jágr’s exercise routine isn’t the only thing that keeps him solid and stable. “He finds ways to be stronger with his mind-set and spends a lot of time trying to find energy through activating chakras [energy points],” says Panthers strength and conditioning coach Tommy Powers. Powers also helps Jagr with other training techniques, such as Ki-Hara resistance stretching and mashing, a combination of Thai massage and other practices that increase blood flow and promote recovery.

Richard Jefferson, basketball

He may not be the marquee face of his team like a Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook, but Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson is definitely in the midst of his best NBA years yet—at the age of 36. Though he saw some success in his rookie season followed by a seven-year stint with the Nets, it was just last year that he finally earned his first NBA championship ring after playing on five different teams in five years. What’s more, his career is already three times as long as the average NBA player’s, and although he’s not the Cavs’ star player—that would be LeBron James—Jefferson has been able to revamp his career and succeed against much younger opponents thanks to a Southern California–influenced lifestyle change. In addition to regular weightlifting and other off-season workouts, Jefferson started playing beach volleyball and doing yoga, two adjustments that experts believe have been just as important to his late-career surge as his jump-shot accuracy and dunking abilities.

Kerri Walsh Jennings, beach volleyball

After two shoulder injuries, the three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings wasn’t sure if she’d be able to compete in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Despite those major setbacks, however, she was able to rehab back to world-class form by adding new methods to her training and preparation, all at the age of 38. Pilates, meditation, soft-tissue massage and even brain training—using Versus, a headset that collects and assesses cognitive performance—were part of her routine leading up to a bronze-medal finish in Rio with her teammate April Ross. Walsh Jennings’s sessions with trainer Eric Weldon also focused on strength training and mobility (particularly in her hips and upper spine), and on-court circuits honed specific volleyball skills. Top sand players tend to be older than most pro athletes, and Walsh Jennings still has not shown signs of slowing down, even after an improbable five tours—and four medals—at the Olympic Games.

Roger Federer, tennis

If you predicted that 35-year-old Roger Federer would win his 18th Grand Slam title—and his first in nearly five years—at the 2017 Australian Open, even the Swiss Maestro himself would’ve thought you were crazy. After a serious knee injury requiring a six-month layoff to recover, Federer pulled through to triumph despite it all. The surgery to repair his knee injury—the result of a freak accident while Federer was drawing a bath for his young daughters—was the first such procedure of his 19-year career, a testament to his superior fitness and durability. But while his work with longtime conditioning coach Pierre Paganini helped him regain his physical form, his strongest suit has always been his focused mindset and passion for tennis—mind over matter, as it were. Said Federer of his title in Melbourne, “Coming back, getting older, and people have written me off maybe, makes this one so unique.”

FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings digs for a ball while playing Brazil during the women's beach volleyball bronze medal match of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Five-time Olympian Walsh Jennings is looking for a new partner - and a new beach volleyball tour - after rejecting an exclusivity agreement with the AVP that would have locked her into the circuit through the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings digs for a ball while playing Brazil during the women's beach volleyball bronze medal match of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Five-time Olympian Walsh Jennings is looking for a new partner - and a new beach volleyball tour - after rejecting an exclusivity agreement with the AVP that would have locked her into the circuit through the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings digs for a ball while playing Brazil during the women's beach volleyball bronze medal match of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Five-time Olympian Walsh Jennings is looking for a new partner - and a new beach volleyball tour - after rejecting an exclusivity agreement with the AVP that would have locked her into the circuit through the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings is looking for a new partner - and a new beach volleyball tour
Jennings to skip beach tour in protest
Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings is looking for a new partner - and a new beach volleyball tour
<p>Serena Williams found out she was expecting her first child just two days before the Australian Open.</p><p>In a TED Talk <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2017/04/26/serena-williams-says-she-was-nervous-to-play-in-australian-open-while-pregnant/?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.7887b5882369" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:interview" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">interview</a> with Gayle King this week, the tennis great revealed she was “nervous” about playing while pregnant but managed to buckle down and focus on the task at hand. “It wasn’t very easy,” she said. “You hear all these stories about people when they’re pregnant—they get sick, they get really tired, really stressed out… I had to really take all that energy and put it in a paper bag, so to say, and throw it away.”</p><p>“Pregnant or not, no one knew, and I was supposed to win that tournament as I am every tournament that I show up [for],” she added. “If I don’t win, it’s actually much bigger news.”</p><p>Williams did <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/28/sports/tennis/serena-williams-venus-australian-open.html?_r=0" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:win" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">win</a> that tournament in January—her seventh Australian Open title. And when she <a href="http://motto.time.com/4746545/serena-williams-announces-pregnancy-snapchat/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:announced" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">announced</a> her pregnancy to the world last week, social media users pointed to that victory as further proof of her status as the “greatest of all time.” Others <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39653672" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:questioned" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">questioned</a> how a pregnant woman could <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/27/well/move/winning-while-pregnant-how-athletes-do-it.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:accomplish" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">accomplish</a> such a feat.</p><p>But Williams is far from the first professional athlete to compete and win while pregnant. Beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings won her third gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics while five weeks pregnant. Canadian curler Kristie Moore took home a silver medal at 2010 Olympics while five months pregnant. Malaysian shooter Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/shooting/9426433/London-2012-Olympics-pregnant-Malaysian-shooter-Nur-Suryani-Mohamad-Taibi-aiming-for-historic-gold.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:competed" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">competed</a> at the 2012 Olympics while eight months pregnant, and Alysia Montaño ran the 800-meter race at the 2014 U.S. track and field championships while eight months pregnant. They weren’t the <a href="http://fusion.net/18-badass-women-who-competed-in-the-olympics-while-preg-1793860969" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:only ones" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">only ones</a>.</p><p>Just last year, runner Sarah Brown made <a href="https://www.si.com/edge/2016/07/08/sarah-brown-mom-runner-olympic-trials-training" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:headlines" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">headlines</a> after announcing that she planned to attempt to make the U.S. Olympic team less than four months after giving birth to her first daughter. She trained throughout her pregnancy and then returned just one week after giving birth. “The pregnancy was unexpected, and I had some goals that I wanted to achieve before finding out,” Brown told <em>Motto</em>. “There was no reason why I shouldn’t keep trying.”</p><p>But her decision to keep on training, which she made in consultation with doctors and her husband, was met with some criticism. “There were people reaching out with support,” Brown, who ultimately <a href="http://www.elle.com/culture/news/a38499/sarah-brown-runner-interview/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:didn’t make" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">didn’t make</a> the 2016 roster, said. “And there were people also calling me crazy and saying what I was doing was unhealthy.”</p><p>In 2015, the International Olympic Committee <a href="https://www.olympic.org/news/ioc-drives-discussions-on-pregnancy-and-elite-athletes" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:gathered" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">gathered</a> sixteen experts from around the world to explore research and recommendations for athletes during pregnancy and after childbirth. Their subsequent report, released in 2016, <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-36402624" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:found" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">found</a> that it’s completely safe for women to keep training as they were before—so long as they adapt to the needs of their own body as it changes.“This is individual and depends on sports,” Kari Bø, a professor at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences and one of the report’s authors, told <em>Motto</em>. “For example, a rhythmic gymnast would probably not be able to continue with back bending after their first trimester, while someone who participates in orienteering would be able to walk or jog in the forest until birth.”</p><p>Earlier this month, seven-time Olympic medalist <a href="http://time.com/4451645/us-womens-medley-thousandth-gold-medal/?iid=sr-link1" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Dana Vollmer" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Dana Vollmer</a> swam the 50-meter freestyle at a national <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39607912" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:meet" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">meet</a> while six months pregnant with her second child. “I knew I definitely wasn’t going to go as fast as I was going into Rio, but that wasn’t the goal,” Vollmer told <em>Motto</em>. “Nobody cared what time I got or what place I went. I was having fun just competing.”</p><p>“I need goals. I’ve always known that about myself and that doesn’t change just because I’m pregnant,” she said. “So, setting the goal of wanting to compete at the Mesa meet was motivation for me to keep working out while pregnant.”</p><p>The swimmer says that she was overjoyed with the response she got following the race. “I had so many people writing me on social media talking about marathons they did or continuing to swim or doing different races,” she said. “It’s amazing how strong pregnant women are and what we’re able to do.”</p><p>Though elite athletes—like many other career women—are able to balance pregnancy and subsequent motherhood with their careers just fine, older athletes say that hasn’t always been the norm. Hall of fame tennis player <a href="http://www.gigifernandeztennis.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Gigi Fernández" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Gigi Fernández</a>, who won 17 <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/glenview/sports/ct-gla-gigi-fernandez-tennis-glenview-tl-0307-20170312-story.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Grand Slam doubles titles" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Grand Slam doubles titles</a>, has publicly <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/30/sports/tennis/30motherhood.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:spoken" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">spoken</a> out about her struggles with infertility after delaying motherhood to focus on her career. “As athletes, you’re so focused on performance and you train very intensely. I would skip periods,” Fernández told <em>Motto</em>. “It was a very difficult time in my life.”</p><p>Fernández, who retired from her sport in 1997 and now coaches, eventually did become pregnant with the help of <a href="http://motto.time.com/4753310/ivf-10-times-lessons/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:IVF" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">IVF</a> and now encourages younger female athletes to freeze their eggs. “I think that there’s a time and a place for everything,” she said. “Our athletic careers aren’t forever—you have to do it while you’re young. But at some point, if you want to be a mother, you have to take a break and focus on that.”</p><p>In 1997, basketball star Sheryl Swoopes announced that she was pregnant before the inaugural season of the WNBA, which she was widely expected to be the star of. Swoopes <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/07/how-sheryl-swoopess-pregnancy-changed-professional-sports-forever/278168/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:returned" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">returned</a> to her sport six weeks later, which—while probably not a surprise to most women—was unusual for female athletes at the time. “I don’t know if anyone thought that was possible until [Sheryl] did it,” WNBA player Tina Thompson <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/07/how-sheryl-swoopess-pregnancy-changed-professional-sports-forever/278168/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:said" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">said</a> in a documentary about Swoopes.</p><p>But as evidenced by Williams, Brown, Vollmer and others, competing and training while pregnant is totally doable. “Pregnancy isn’t a disability,” <a href="http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/sports/Women-Olympians-Proving-That-Motherhood-Is-No-Bar-To-Success-162076625.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Bill Moreau" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Bill Moreau</a>, the managing director of sports medicine for the U.S. Olympic Committee, <a href="http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/sports/Women-Olympians-Proving-That-Motherhood-Is-No-Bar-To-Success-162076625.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:told" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">told</a> NBC in 2012. Still, we have a ways to go before a pregnant athlete excelling at her job will be commonplace rather than cause for excitement, questions or scrutiny.</p><p>After all, Vollmer and Brown, who both have their sights set on making the 2020 Olympic team in their sports, are just pursuing their careers.</p><p>“I’m a better mother because I run and I’m able to take that time for myself and go after something that’s important to me. I’m a better runner because I’m a mother because at the end of the day, I have someone who I can go home to who will love me regardless of what happens on the track,” Brown said. “I’m showing my daughter that it’s important to go after what you want.”</p>
Serena Williams joins long list of athletes who have competed while pregnant

Serena Williams found out she was expecting her first child just two days before the Australian Open.

In a TED Talk interview with Gayle King this week, the tennis great revealed she was “nervous” about playing while pregnant but managed to buckle down and focus on the task at hand. “It wasn’t very easy,” she said. “You hear all these stories about people when they’re pregnant—they get sick, they get really tired, really stressed out… I had to really take all that energy and put it in a paper bag, so to say, and throw it away.”

“Pregnant or not, no one knew, and I was supposed to win that tournament as I am every tournament that I show up [for],” she added. “If I don’t win, it’s actually much bigger news.”

Williams did win that tournament in January—her seventh Australian Open title. And when she announced her pregnancy to the world last week, social media users pointed to that victory as further proof of her status as the “greatest of all time.” Others questioned how a pregnant woman could accomplish such a feat.

But Williams is far from the first professional athlete to compete and win while pregnant. Beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings won her third gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics while five weeks pregnant. Canadian curler Kristie Moore took home a silver medal at 2010 Olympics while five months pregnant. Malaysian shooter Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi competed at the 2012 Olympics while eight months pregnant, and Alysia Montaño ran the 800-meter race at the 2014 U.S. track and field championships while eight months pregnant. They weren’t the only ones.

Just last year, runner Sarah Brown made headlines after announcing that she planned to attempt to make the U.S. Olympic team less than four months after giving birth to her first daughter. She trained throughout her pregnancy and then returned just one week after giving birth. “The pregnancy was unexpected, and I had some goals that I wanted to achieve before finding out,” Brown told Motto. “There was no reason why I shouldn’t keep trying.”

But her decision to keep on training, which she made in consultation with doctors and her husband, was met with some criticism. “There were people reaching out with support,” Brown, who ultimately didn’t make the 2016 roster, said. “And there were people also calling me crazy and saying what I was doing was unhealthy.”

In 2015, the International Olympic Committee gathered sixteen experts from around the world to explore research and recommendations for athletes during pregnancy and after childbirth. Their subsequent report, released in 2016, found that it’s completely safe for women to keep training as they were before—so long as they adapt to the needs of their own body as it changes.“This is individual and depends on sports,” Kari Bø, a professor at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences and one of the report’s authors, told Motto. “For example, a rhythmic gymnast would probably not be able to continue with back bending after their first trimester, while someone who participates in orienteering would be able to walk or jog in the forest until birth.”

Earlier this month, seven-time Olympic medalist Dana Vollmer swam the 50-meter freestyle at a national meet while six months pregnant with her second child. “I knew I definitely wasn’t going to go as fast as I was going into Rio, but that wasn’t the goal,” Vollmer told Motto. “Nobody cared what time I got or what place I went. I was having fun just competing.”

“I need goals. I’ve always known that about myself and that doesn’t change just because I’m pregnant,” she said. “So, setting the goal of wanting to compete at the Mesa meet was motivation for me to keep working out while pregnant.”

The swimmer says that she was overjoyed with the response she got following the race. “I had so many people writing me on social media talking about marathons they did or continuing to swim or doing different races,” she said. “It’s amazing how strong pregnant women are and what we’re able to do.”

Though elite athletes—like many other career women—are able to balance pregnancy and subsequent motherhood with their careers just fine, older athletes say that hasn’t always been the norm. Hall of fame tennis player Gigi Fernández, who won 17 Grand Slam doubles titles, has publicly spoken out about her struggles with infertility after delaying motherhood to focus on her career. “As athletes, you’re so focused on performance and you train very intensely. I would skip periods,” Fernández told Motto. “It was a very difficult time in my life.”

Fernández, who retired from her sport in 1997 and now coaches, eventually did become pregnant with the help of IVF and now encourages younger female athletes to freeze their eggs. “I think that there’s a time and a place for everything,” she said. “Our athletic careers aren’t forever—you have to do it while you’re young. But at some point, if you want to be a mother, you have to take a break and focus on that.”

In 1997, basketball star Sheryl Swoopes announced that she was pregnant before the inaugural season of the WNBA, which she was widely expected to be the star of. Swoopes returned to her sport six weeks later, which—while probably not a surprise to most women—was unusual for female athletes at the time. “I don’t know if anyone thought that was possible until [Sheryl] did it,” WNBA player Tina Thompson said in a documentary about Swoopes.

But as evidenced by Williams, Brown, Vollmer and others, competing and training while pregnant is totally doable. “Pregnancy isn’t a disability,” Bill Moreau, the managing director of sports medicine for the U.S. Olympic Committee, told NBC in 2012. Still, we have a ways to go before a pregnant athlete excelling at her job will be commonplace rather than cause for excitement, questions or scrutiny.

After all, Vollmer and Brown, who both have their sights set on making the 2020 Olympic team in their sports, are just pursuing their careers.

“I’m a better mother because I run and I’m able to take that time for myself and go after something that’s important to me. I’m a better runner because I’m a mother because at the end of the day, I have someone who I can go home to who will love me regardless of what happens on the track,” Brown said. “I’m showing my daughter that it’s important to go after what you want.”

FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings awaits a serve against Australia during a women's beach volleyball quarterfinal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The five-time Olympian Kerri has not yet committed to play in AVP events this summer, leading the domestic beach volleyball tour to announce its 2017 schedule without including the game’s top draw among “the most respected names in the sport” who are expected to participate. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings awaits a serve against Australia during a women's beach volleyball quarterfinal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The five-time Olympian Kerri has not yet committed to play in AVP events this summer, leading the domestic beach volleyball tour to announce its 2017 schedule without including the game’s top draw among “the most respected names in the sport” who are expected to participate. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2016, file photo, United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings awaits a serve against Australia during a women's beach volleyball quarterfinal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The five-time Olympian Kerri has not yet committed to play in AVP events this summer, leading the domestic beach volleyball tour to announce its 2017 schedule without including the game’s top draw among “the most respected names in the sport” who are expected to participate. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings joins Seth Davis to discuss winning the bronze medal in Rio, whether she will compete in Tokyo, playing against Misty May-Treanor in high school, and her transition from indoor volleyball to beach volleyball.
Seth Davis: Kerri Jennings
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings joins Seth Davis to discuss winning the bronze medal in Rio, whether she will compete in Tokyo, playing against Misty May-Treanor in high school, and her transition from indoor volleyball to beach volleyball.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings joins Seth Davis to discuss winning the bronze medal in Rio, whether she will compete in Tokyo, playing against Misty May-Treanor in high school, and her transition from indoor volleyball to beach volleyball.
Seth Davis: Kerri Jennings
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings joins Seth Davis to discuss winning the bronze medal in Rio, whether she will compete in Tokyo, playing against Misty May-Treanor in high school, and her transition from indoor volleyball to beach volleyball.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings joins Seth Davis to discuss winning the bronze medal in Rio, whether she will compete in Tokyo, playing against Misty May-Treanor in high school, and her transition from indoor volleyball to beach volleyball.
Seth Davis: Kerri Jennings
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings joins Seth Davis to discuss winning the bronze medal in Rio, whether she will compete in Tokyo, playing against Misty May-Treanor in high school, and her transition from indoor volleyball to beach volleyball.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings joins Seth Davis to discuss winning the bronze medal in Rio, whether she will compete in Tokyo, playing against Misty May-Treanor in high school, and her transition from indoor volleyball to beach volleyball.
Seth Davis: Kerri Jennings
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings joins Seth Davis to discuss winning the bronze medal in Rio, whether she will compete in Tokyo, playing against Misty May-Treanor in high school, and her transition from indoor volleyball to beach volleyball.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 12: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted to black and white.) Professional beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings attends the 2017 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
The 2017 ESPYS - Arrivals
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 12: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted to black and white.) Professional beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings attends the 2017 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 1: U.S. Olympic beach volleyball medalist April Ross throws out a ceremonial first pitch before the game between the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants on September 01, 2016 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
San Francisco Giants v Chicago Cubs
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 1: U.S. Olympic beach volleyball medalist April Ross throws out a ceremonial first pitch before the game between the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants on September 01, 2016 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross win World Series of Beach Volleyball
Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross win World Series of Beach Volleyball
Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross win World Series of Beach Volleyball
<p>The beach volleyball champion on sun-proofing her hair, pasta, and drugstore favorites.<span>​</span></p>
6 Beauty Secrets I Learned From Olympic Medalist April Ross

The beach volleyball champion on sun-proofing her hair, pasta, and drugstore favorites.

<p>The beach volleyball champion on sun-proofing her hair, pasta, and drugstore favorites.<span>​</span></p>
6 Beauty Secrets I Learned From Olympic Medalist April Ross

The beach volleyball champion on sun-proofing her hair, pasta, and drugstore favorites.

<p>American beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings, as reported by <i><a href="http://www.today.com/news/kerri-walsh-jennings-beach-volleyball-bronze-no-shame-third-place-t101977" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:TODAY" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">TODAY</a></i></p>
"We won this, we didn’t lose. We won this. We lost our chance to win a gold, but we won this bronze model.”

American beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings, as reported by TODAY

<p>Kerri Walsh Jennings may be the best American beach volleyball player, but Brook Sweat has the most appropriate name for the sport. Sweat perspired quite a bit in Rio, but never made it to the elimination round. (Getty) </p>
Brooke Sweat

Kerri Walsh Jennings may be the best American beach volleyball player, but Brook Sweat has the most appropriate name for the sport. Sweat perspired quite a bit in Rio, but never made it to the elimination round. (Getty)

<p>The Rio Games marked the first ever Olympic <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/news/walsh-jennings-ross-fall-short-of-olympic-gold-with-loss-to-brazil-040409557.html" data-ylk="slk:beach volleyball loss;outcm:mb_qualified_link;_E:mb_qualified_link" class="link rapid-noclick-resp newsroom-embed-article">beach volleyball loss</a> for Kerri Walsh Jennings, 38, ending her 26-match winning streak and preventing her from earning a fourth straight gold medal. Fortunately, Walsh Jennings and partner April Ross won their bronze medal match. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)</p>
Kerri Walsh Jennings, USA

The Rio Games marked the first ever Olympic beach volleyball loss for Kerri Walsh Jennings, 38, ending her 26-match winning streak and preventing her from earning a fourth straight gold medal. Fortunately, Walsh Jennings and partner April Ross won their bronze medal match. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

<p>The Rio Games marked the first ever Olympic <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/news/walsh-jennings-ross-fall-short-of-olympic-gold-with-loss-to-brazil-040409557.html" data-ylk="slk:beach volleyball loss;outcm:mb_qualified_link;_E:mb_qualified_link" class="link rapid-noclick-resp newsroom-embed-article">beach volleyball loss</a> for Kerri Walsh Jennings, 38, ending her 26-match winning streak and preventing her from earning a fourth straight gold medal. Fortunately, Walsh Jennings and partner April Ross won their bronze medal match. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) </p>
Kerri Walsh Jennings, USA

The Rio Games marked the first ever Olympic beach volleyball loss for Kerri Walsh Jennings, 38, ending her 26-match winning streak and preventing her from earning a fourth straight gold medal. Fortunately, Walsh Jennings and partner April Ross won their bronze medal match. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

<p>Beach volleyball star, and Rio bronze medalist, Kerri Walsh Jennings shared this throwback pic of her with her siblings, dressed up for a Western-themed photo shoot. (kerrileewalsh/Instagram) </p>
Kerri Walsh Jennings

Beach volleyball star, and Rio bronze medalist, Kerri Walsh Jennings shared this throwback pic of her with her siblings, dressed up for a Western-themed photo shoot. (kerrileewalsh/Instagram)

<p>Medalists jump off the podium after the medals ceremony in the women’s beach volleyball competion of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug. 18, 2016. From left are, Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas de Freitas with the silver medal, Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst with the gold medal, and United States’ April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings with the bronze medal. (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP) </p>
Medalists jump off the podium

Medalists jump off the podium after the medals ceremony in the women’s beach volleyball competion of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug. 18, 2016. From left are, Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas de Freitas with the silver medal, Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst with the gold medal, and United States’ April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings with the bronze medal. (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

USA's bronze medallists, April Ross (R) and Kerri Walsh Jennings, celebrate on the podium at the end of the women's beach volleyball event, during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, on August 17 (AFP Photo/Leon Neal)
USA's bronze medallists, April Ross (R) and Kerri Walsh Jennings, celebrate on the podium at the end of the women's beach volleyball event, during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, on August 17
USA's bronze medallists, April Ross (R) and Kerri Walsh Jennings, celebrate on the podium at the end of the women's beach volleyball event, during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, on August 17 (AFP Photo/Leon Neal)
<p>American beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh (left) and actress and three-time Academy Award nominee Laura Linney (right). </p>
Doppelgangers: Olympic edition

American beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh (left) and actress and three-time Academy Award nominee Laura Linney (right).

REFILE - CORRECTING DATE 2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA and April Ross (USA) of USA pose with their bronze medals. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony
REFILE - CORRECTING DATE 2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA and April Ross (USA) of USA pose with their bronze medals. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Silver medalists Agatha Bednarczuk (BRA) of Brazil and Barbara Seixas Figueiredo (BRA) of Brazil, gold medalists Laura Ludwig (GER) of Germany and Kira Walkenhorst (GER) of Germany, and bronze medalists April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA pose with their medals. REUTERS/Adrees Latif FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Silver medalists Agatha Bednarczuk (BRA) of Brazil and Barbara Seixas Figueiredo (BRA) of Brazil, gold medalists Laura Ludwig (GER) of Germany and Kira Walkenhorst (GER) of Germany, and bronze medalists April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA pose with their medals. REUTERS/Adrees Latif FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA and April Ross (USA) of USA pose with their bronze medals. REUTERS/Adrees Latif FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA and April Ross (USA) of USA pose with their bronze medals. REUTERS/Adrees Latif FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Silver medalists Agatha Bednarczuk (BRA) of Brazil and Barbara Seixas Figueiredo (BRA) of Brazil, gold medalists Laura Ludwig (GER) of Germany and Kira Walkenhorst (GER) of Germany, and bronze medalists April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA pose with their medals. REUTERS/Adrees Latif FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Silver medalists Agatha Bednarczuk (BRA) of Brazil and Barbara Seixas Figueiredo (BRA) of Brazil, gold medalists Laura Ludwig (GER) of Germany and Kira Walkenhorst (GER) of Germany, and bronze medalists April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA pose with their medals. REUTERS/Adrees Latif FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Silver medalists Agatha Bednarczuk (BRA) of Brazil and Barbara Seixas Figueiredo (BRA) of Brazil, gold medalists Laura Ludwig (GER) of Germany and Kira Walkenhorst (GER) of Germany, and bronze medalists April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrate. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Silver medalists Agatha Bednarczuk (BRA) of Brazil and Barbara Seixas Figueiredo (BRA) of Brazil, gold medalists Laura Ludwig (GER) of Germany and Kira Walkenhorst (GER) of Germany, and bronze medalists April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrate. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Silver medalists Agatha Bednarczuk (BRA) of Brazil and Barbara Seixas Figueiredo (BRA) of Brazil, gold medalists Laura Ludwig (GER) of Germany and Kira Walkenhorst (GER) of Germany, and bronze medalists April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrate. REUTERS/Adrees Latif FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Silver medalists Agatha Bednarczuk (BRA) of Brazil and Barbara Seixas Figueiredo (BRA) of Brazil, gold medalists Laura Ludwig (GER) of Germany and Kira Walkenhorst (GER) of Germany, and bronze medalists April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrate. REUTERS/Adrees Latif FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA and April Ross (USA) of USA kiss their bronze medals. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA and April Ross (USA) of USA kiss their bronze medals. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA and April Ross (USA) of USA pose with their bronze medals. REUTERS/Adrees Latif FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA and April Ross (USA) of USA pose with their bronze medals. REUTERS/Adrees Latif FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Bronze medalists Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA and April Ross (USA) of USA on the podium. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Bronze medalists Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA and April Ross (USA) of USA on the podium. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Silver medalists Agatha Bednarczuk (BRA) of Brazil and Barbara Seixas Figueiredo (BRA) of Brazil, gold medalists Laura Ludwig (GER) of Germany and Kira Walkenhorst (GER) of Germany, and bronze medalists April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrate. REUTERS/Adrees Latif FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Silver medalists Agatha Bednarczuk (BRA) of Brazil and Barbara Seixas Figueiredo (BRA) of Brazil, gold medalists Laura Ludwig (GER) of Germany and Kira Walkenhorst (GER) of Germany, and bronze medalists April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrate. REUTERS/Adrees Latif FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Silver medalists Agatha Bednarczuk (BRA) of Brazil and Barbara Seixas Figueiredo (BRA) of Brazil, gold medalists Laura Ludwig (GER) of Germany and Kira Walkenhorst (GER) of Germany, and bronze medalists April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrate. REUTERS/Adrees Latif TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Silver medalists Agatha Bednarczuk (BRA) of Brazil and Barbara Seixas Figueiredo (BRA) of Brazil, gold medalists Laura Ludwig (GER) of Germany and Kira Walkenhorst (GER) of Germany, and bronze medalists April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrate. REUTERS/Adrees Latif TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Bronze medalists Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA and April Ross (USA) of USA on the podium. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Bronze medalists Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA and April Ross (USA) of USA on the podium. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/08/2016. Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA and April Ross (USA) of USA pose with their bronze medals. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Victory Ceremony - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/08/2016. Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA and April Ross (USA) of USA pose with their bronze medals. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
They beat the host Brazilians 17-21, 21-17, 15-9
Team USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross Take Bronze in Beach Volleyball
They beat the host Brazilians 17-21, 21-17, 15-9
Every athlete has his or her own method to prepare for competition. It appears that Kerri Walsh Jennings goes with Makaveli. Ahead of Wednesday's Bronze medal beach volleyball victory in the 2016 Olympic Games, Jennings posted an Instagram featuring a song by Tupac Shakur. In the wake of a shocking semifinal round upset, it would seem her go-to cut to amp up her and teammate April Ross was 2Pac's "Still Ballin'." "'... Till the day I die.' #RemainTrue Let's GO @aprilrossbeach," Jennings wrote. "Let's do what we came here for #PlayfulDomination." Jennings previously posted screenshots of Redbone's "Come and Get Your Love," "Genghis Khan" by Miike Snow, and various quotes during the Rio Games. Jennings and Ross rallied to best Brazil in the Bronze medal match, two sets to one. The duo was upended by Brazil in the semifinals, giving Jennings her first-ever Olympics loss. ".... Till the day I die." #RemainTrue Let's GO @aprilrossbeach Let's do what we came here for #PlayfulDomination A photo posted by Kerri Walsh Jennings (@kerrileewalsh) on Aug 17, 2016 at 3:53pm PDT
Olympics: Kerri Walsh Jennings referenced Tupac before Bronze medal win
Every athlete has his or her own method to prepare for competition. It appears that Kerri Walsh Jennings goes with Makaveli. Ahead of Wednesday's Bronze medal beach volleyball victory in the 2016 Olympic Games, Jennings posted an Instagram featuring a song by Tupac Shakur. In the wake of a shocking semifinal round upset, it would seem her go-to cut to amp up her and teammate April Ross was 2Pac's "Still Ballin'." "'... Till the day I die.' #RemainTrue Let's GO @aprilrossbeach," Jennings wrote. "Let's do what we came here for #PlayfulDomination." Jennings previously posted screenshots of Redbone's "Come and Get Your Love," "Genghis Khan" by Miike Snow, and various quotes during the Rio Games. Jennings and Ross rallied to best Brazil in the Bronze medal match, two sets to one. The duo was upended by Brazil in the semifinals, giving Jennings her first-ever Olympics loss. ".... Till the day I die." #RemainTrue Let's GO @aprilrossbeach Let's do what we came here for #PlayfulDomination A photo posted by Kerri Walsh Jennings (@kerrileewalsh) on Aug 17, 2016 at 3:53pm PDT
USA's Kerri Walsh Jennings (R) celebrates with teammate April Ross after winning their beach volleyball bronze medal match against Brazil, at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, on August 17 (AFP Photo/Yasuyoshi Chiba)
USA's Kerri Walsh Jennings (R) celebrates with teammate April Ross after winning their beach volleyball bronze medal match against Brazil, at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, on August 17
USA's Kerri Walsh Jennings (R) celebrates with teammate April Ross after winning their beach volleyball bronze medal match against Brazil, at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, on August 17 (AFP Photo/Yasuyoshi Chiba)
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match - Brazil v USA - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/08/2016. Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrates winning the bronze. REUTERS/Tony Gentile TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match - Brazil v USA - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/08/2016. Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrates winning the bronze. REUTERS/Tony Gentile TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match - Brazil v USA - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/08/2016. April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrate winning the bronze. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match - Brazil v USA - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/08/2016. April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrate winning the bronze. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match - Brazil v USA - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/08/2016. Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrates winning the bronze. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match - Brazil v USA - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/08/2016. Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrates winning the bronze. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match - Brazil v USA - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/08/2016. April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrate winning the bronze. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match - Brazil v USA - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/08/2016. April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrate winning the bronze. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match - Brazil v USA - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/08/2016. April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrate winning the bronze. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match - Brazil v USA - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/08/2016. April Ross (USA) of USA and Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA celebrate winning the bronze. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match - Brazil v USA - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/08/2016. Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA and April Ross (USA) of USA celebrate winning the bronze. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match
2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Women's Bronze Medal Match - Brazil v USA - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/08/2016. Kerri Walsh (USA) of USA and April Ross (USA) of USA celebrate winning the bronze. REUTERS/Tony Gentile FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.

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