Walsh Jennings, Sweat Add Second Bronze, Jump to Ninth in Olympic Standings
It wasn’t intentional comedy, nor was it knee-slapping comedic, but it did provide a good chuckle when an announcer on the livestream mentioned, prior to Kerri Walsh Jennings’ bronze medal match in the 3-star Sydney event last weekend, that “I think she wants her sixth Olympics.”
A woman of three golds, one bronze and another Olympic appearance doesn’t really do things halfway. So no, Walsh Jennings wasn’t just in Sydney, Australia because she thinks she maybe, sorta, kinda wants a sixth Olympics. She wants it, as does her partner, Brooke Sweat, who’s still stung by how her previous Games went, in Rio de Janeiro, when shoulder injuries made her path an arduous one and a brutal pool made her time there a little too quick for her taste.
It hasn’t been difficult to see that focus, particularly in the bronze medal match in Sydney, a convincing 21-19, 21-19 win over China’s Fan Wang and Xinyi Xia.
The partnership, thus far, has been a boon for both. Prior to partnering with Walsh Jennings, Sweat had two FIVB medals to her name, a total she has matched in just four events together. And, prior to partnering with Sweat, it had been a year and a half since Walsh Jennings medaled on the FIVB. She had played 10 events with various partners before picking up Sweat for p1440 Las Vegas, their first in the push for Tokyo. They took 17th, knocked out by Americans Betsi Flint and Emily Day, who took silver in Australia last weekend.
One event later, at a three-star in Chetumal, Mexico, they picked up their first medal, taking bronze in a fun three-setter over promising Canadians Nicole and Megan McNamara. In four events now, they have two medals, a pair of bronzes that has pushed them to No. 9 in the Olympic rankings and third among Americans.
“The goal is always to win your last match on the court,” Walsh Jennings said at center court after sealing up the bronze. “We just played a really great, young Chinese team. The whole tournament was very deep. It feels really good to finish on top.”
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