Kerri Walsh Jennings' Injury Was Pretty Serious
Few Olympians have a resume as full as that of Kerri Walsh Jennings. She won gold in beach volleyball at the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Olympics, securing her title as one of the most talented volleyball players and athletes in the world. It's surprising, then to learn that Rio superstar Walsh Jennings was injured a little more than a year ago and had to have surgery and six months of down time to heal. Even though she and teammate April Ross haven't scored the gold medal this time around, the athlete has still proven that not even injury can set her back.
Walsh Jennings was originally injured in May 2015, when she dislocated her shoulder. She re-injured it in July 2015, which resulted in a September surgery to fix a torn labrum and capsule in her right shoulder and a four-to-six month recovery time. Despite her injury, she competed in three qualifying matches in August of last year to keep her partner, April Ross, in the running for Olympics qualification.
The potentially injurious hard work paid off, but not as much as they would have liked: Ross and Walsh Jennings qualified to go to Rio but lost in the semifinals at Copacabana beach. They played and lost to Brazilian players Agatha and Barbara (who go by single names in the Brazilian soccer tradition).
Despite the upset at the semifinals that ended Walsh Jennings' Olympics winning streak, it still was her first Olympic loss. However, her time in Rio isn't over just yet. She and Ross will play against Talita and Larissa, another Brazilian team, for the bronze medal. This game might also prove tricky, as Larissa was named the best player in the world in 2015 by the FIVB, the international beach volleyball federation.
Walsh Jennings, a mother of three, also has plans for her post-volleyball life. She and her husband, fellow beach volleyball player Casey Jennings, want to open an academy based in the sport of volleyball, she told Yahoo during an interview.
I want to build up my presence in our sport. My husband and I want to have a leadership academy. Volleyball will kind of be the foundation of it, but we want to talk about character and team-building and what it takes to be great in life.
While she dukes it out for the bronze alongside Ross, Walsh Jennings will prove that even in a majorly successful career like hers, there's always life after the games. And for that matter, a simple loss is, by no means, the end of a career.