The Paris Olympics will reunite one of beach volleyball's finest duos: Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes.

At USC, the pair won 103 consecutive matches and left a legacy of dominance on the collegiate circuit. Post-graduation, the pair started their professional beach volleyball careers together in 2017 before splitting in 2018. 

In late 2022, the pair reunited, and just a year later, captured the World Tour Final title. They won the world championship together in October 2023.

Cheng (formerly Claes) returns to the Olympic volleyball court with a new name, a new partner and a new chance to take home gold. As one-half of the reigning beach volleyball world champions, Cheng has plenty to prove under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower this summer as she vies for her first gold medal with Team USA.

Hughes, a 29-year-old former collegiate champion, is set to make her Olympic debut this summer in Paris.

Get to know a little bit more about the world champion beach volleyball pair ahead of their Olympic run this summer. 

Kelly Cheng

How old is Kelly Cheng?

Kelly Cheng is 28 years old. She was born on September 18, 1995.

How tall is Kelly Cheng?

Kelly Cheng is listed at 6-foot-2.

Where is Kelly Cheng from?

Kelly Cheng is from Fullerton, California. 

Where does Kelly Cheng live now?

Kelly Cheng lives in Huntington Beach, California.

Who are Kelly Cheng's parents?

Kelly Cheng was born to parents Paul and Quincy Claes. Paul played baseball for two years at San Diego State.

When did Kelly Cheng start playing volleyball?

Cheng first started playing beach volleyball after being recruited by a local coach at the age of 10 or 11. 

As Cheng recounted, "...he's [local coach] watching a little bit and he scouts out the tallest person in the gym, which was my dad, sitting in the stands. He's 6-foot-7, big guy. And he just starts talking to him like, 'Hey. Who's your daughter?'"

Where did Kelly Cheng go to college?

Kelly Cheng attended the University of Southern California (USC) from January 2014 to March 2017. She graduated with a B.S. in Sociology. 

Cheng competed on USC's beach volleyball team for four years, earning two player of the year awards. She was named an All-American three times, and led the USC Trojans to two back-to-back national championships, winning the NCAA National Championships in 2016 and again in 2017. 

Who is Kelly Cheng's husband?

Kelly Cheng's husband is Jordan Cheng. Jordan Cheng is a beach volleyball coach, and has coached Cheng since 2019. The pair started dating in 2020, and wed in 2022.

What are some fun facts about Kelly Cheng?

  • Kelly Cheng can juggle volleyballs
  • A self-described geek, Kelly Cheng loves video games, Dungeons and Dragons, anime and comic conventions
  • Anxious to play at a higher level, Kelly Cheng graduated from high school a semester early to join USC's beach volleyball program

Sara Hughes

How old is Sara Hughes?

Sara Hughes is 29 years old. She was born on February 14, 1995.

How tall is Sara Hughes?

Sara Hughes is listed at 5-foot-10.

Where is Sara Hughes from?

Sara Hughes was born in Long Beach, California, but was raised in Costa Mesa, California. 

Where does Sara Hughes live now?

Sara Hughes lives in Hermosa Beach, California.

Does Sara Hughes have siblings?

Sara Hughes has two older siblings: a brother, Connor, who was an outside hitter at UC Irvine and named tournament MVP in the program's 2013 NCAA title run, and a sister, Lauren, who played collegiate volleyball at Fairfield.

When did Sara Hughes start playing beach volleyball?

Sara Hughes began playing beach volleyball at 8 years old. 

Where did Sara Hughes go to college?

Sara Hughes attended the University of Southern California (USC). She graduated with a Business Administration degree in 2017, and went on to stay at USC to get her Master's in Entrepreneurship in 2018. 

Hughes was one of the first athletes ever to accept a full four-year scholarship for beach volleyball, and the first at USC. During her time at USC, Hughes helped the USC Trojans capture five national championships; two individual and three team championships. Hughes served as team captain from her sophomore through senior years, and was named a four-time All-American. 

What are some fun facts about Sara Hughes?

  • Growing up in Huntington Beach, just outside of Los Angeles, Hughes idolized three-time Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor, who lived and trained in the area. Hughes would often watch May-Treanor's sessions and even participated in some of the practices.
  • Hughes made playing in the Olympics her goal at 8 years old

"Since I was 8 years old, my goal was to always represent USA and go to the Olympic Games," she said in September 2023. "I vividly remember the moment. I was on the north side of the pier, a couple of courts down, I just knew I found exactly what I wanted to do."