Though Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes spent some of their most successful amateur years together, the pair will make its Olympic debut in Paris this summer.

Here's how the two beach volleyball stars made it to Paris and how they're prepping for the Olympic stage.

How did Kelly Cheng do in college?

In her four years at USC, Kelly Cheng earned two player of the year awards, three All-American titles and two consecutive national championships (2016, 2017.) Her 99-4 record is the second-best in school history — second only to Sara Hughes.

How did Sara Hughes do in college?

In her four years at USC, Sara Hughes was a three-time team captain, four-time All-American and five-time national champion (two individual titles, three team titles). 

Her 120-8 record is the best in school history.

How many matches did Sara Hughes and Kelly Cheng win in a row?

As a team at USC, Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes won 103 consecutive matches. 

They hold the only undefeated season in program history, finished 36-0 in the 2016 season. The following season, the duo went 38-1, the second-best season on record.

How many Olympics has Kelly Cheng been to?

Kelly Cheng's only Olympic appearance was at the Tokyo Games in 2020. Cheng, along with then-partner Sarah Sponcil, made it to the Round of 16 before getting bounced.

How many Olympics has Sara Hughes played in?

Sara Hughes has not yet competed in any Olympics. The Paris Games will mark her Olympic debut.

Hughes attempted to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 with partner Summer Ross, but unfortunately failed to qualify after Ross suffered an injury.

She shared her disappointment of failing to secure a spot in Tokyo: "One of the biggest obstacles I've had to overcome was being eliminated from the Tokyo Olympics because of a partner injury. We were on the path to trying to qualify but my  partner unfortunately injured her back badly and could no longer play anymore. I tried to  play with someone else but COVID hit and everything got canceled. Once tournaments started back up again there wasn't 12 tournaments to qualify before Tokyo. It was a very difficult time but I put my head down and went back to work knowing my time would come where I would get another opportunity to try again."

When did Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes partner up for the Olympics?

After splitting in 2018, Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes reunited in late 2022.  Cheng reached out to Sara Hughes and asked to pair up again ahead of the Olympic qualifying season in 2023. Out of respect for her then-partner, Hughes asked for time to think about it, but she didn't wait long. Later that day, she called Cheng and said, “Let’s win gold in Paris.” 

Just a year later, the pair captured the World Tour Final title. They won the world championship together in October 2023.

How did Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes do in the Ostrava Elite 16 matches?

At the Elite 16 matches in Ostrava, Czechia, in early June, Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes earned gold, their first international tournament victory since their October 2023 World Championship win.

Who coaches Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes?

Kelly Cheng's husband, Jordan, serves as the pair's coach. Jordan also coached Kelly and former partner Sarah Sponcil during their Olympic bid for Tokyo.

Also on their coaching staff are longtime USC assistant Gustavo Rocha and retired four-time Olympian Jake Gibb, who join many of their practices as a "buffer on days that are tough," Kelly said in September.

"I’m probably the first one to challenge Kelly and call her out, and that’s not always the best, and that’s part of the reason we hired other coaches on staff," Jordan told Volleyball Magazine in October. "I looked at all the other gold medalists, and it seems like they had an army. I remember telling Kelly that I need help, I know I am a great coach and I believe I can help you win a gold medal, but I think it takes an army."