HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – As the Tokyo Olympics approach, the clock is ticking on who will be filling Team USA’s roster. That includes beach volleyball, one of the most-watched sports of the summer.
USA Volleyball expects to have four beach volleyball teams compete in Tokyo. One spot has already been clinched by April Ross and Alix Kineman. That leaves three others women’s teams competing for one spot.
Olympians Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat hope it will be them, ready to compete after a year unlike any other.
“We’re in this to win, we’re in this to grow through everything,” said Kerri Walsh Jennings. “Our qualifying journey has been intense and nothing has been linear or straightforward. It’s been all over the place and I really believe that it’s all for a purpose.”
The pair spent time apart during the pandemic, but are together again, working on clinching the second beach volleyball spot for Team USA.
“We’re going to be excited to be there, be there competing, to have the opportunity to represent the U.S.,” said Brook Sweat. “So that’s where my focus is. It’s just, you know, our job is to play volleyball, our job is to win, so that’s where my focus is at leading up to Tokyo.”
Walsh Jennings has competed in every summer Olympics since 2000 and is looking to make her sixth trip to the games with Sweat, who will be making her second Olympic appearance.
They know this summer will be different than any previous games.
“This Olympics will certainly look different and feel different, but the heart and the soul and the essence of the movement are still pure and it’s still going to bring the world together, even if the fans largely aren’t there,” said Walsh Jennings. “I just can’t wait for all the athletes who have been on a four-plus year mission, a lifetime mission to get to this point. to be able to, you know, put their heart and souls and their craft on display.”
Even with the changes, they are excited and hoping to have another shot at gold.