July will be a big month for SoCal volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings, who will pose nude in ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue and make her beach sport comeback in Long Beach, Calif., before she tries for her fourth gold medal.
The mother of three announced Tuesday in an exclusive interview with NBC4 Southern California her plans to represent America in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. But first, she will compete on the SoCal coast in the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball on July 22.
"I'm coming back because I want to do it better," she said. "I have so much more in me... I feel like I'm just scratching the surface."
Up-and-coming U.S. beach volleyball teams will be traveling around the globe to represent their country at international events starting this week and continuing into July.
Beginning this week, the U.S. women’s teams of Morgan Beck Miller (Coto de Caza, Calif.)/Tealle Hunkus (Girard, Ohio), Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.)/Kaitlin Sather Nielsen (Santa Rosa, Calif.) and Summer Ross (San Diego, Calif.)/Emily Day (Torrance, Calif.) are slated to compete at the FIVB Anapa Open on July 23-28 in Russia.
The U.S. men’s beach volleyball team of Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal won gold while April Ross and Jennifer Kessy took silver at the FIVB Beach Volleyball Rome Grand Slam in Italy.
Both teams will play next at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships on July 1-7 in Stare Jablonki, Poland.
Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.), seeded No. 3, defeated Latvia’s No. 6 Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs, 21-19, 21-18 in 44 minutes in the men’s final.
Kerri Walsh Jennings made her decision to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics between being dropped off at Heathrow Airport and boarding her flight late last summer.
She had just finished winning an unprecedented third straight Olympic gold medal in beach volleyball with Misty May-Treanor when Walsh Jennings noticed a picture of the Cristo Redentor statue in the Heathrow terminal, the famous landmark in Rio de Janeiro. A landmark she knew she had to see for herself in four years.
The duos claimed gold in the men’s and women’s tournaments at the smart Grand Slam – Rome, the final FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament before the cream of the beach volleyball descends on Stare Jablonki in Poland for the year’s major tournament. Rosenthal and Dalhausser beat Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins in the men’s gold medal match, while Talita and Taiana held of the determined challenge of the USA’s Jennifer Kessy and April Ross.