It's the end of an era for U.S. women's Olympic beach volleyball. For the first time since the turn of the millennium, Kerri Walsh Jennings will not be competing for the United States at the Summer Games.
Walsh Jennings and her partner Brooke Sweat were eliminated from Olympic contention Wednesday after losing in the qualifying round of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour in Ostrava — the final qualifier ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
The duo needed to finish in third place or better in order to qualify for Tokyo, but lost to Katja Stam and Raïsa Schoon of the Netherlands 2-1 in Round 2 of qualification.
Walsh Jennings, 42, is the most decorated beach volleyball player of all time. Appearing in five Olympics since 2000, she won three consecutive Olympic gold medals in 2004, 2008 and 2012 and added a bronze medal at the Rio Games in 2016. She also has a trio of gold medals from the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships under her belt.
With Walsh Jennings and Sweat out of the running for Olympic contention, Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil will be taking their place in Tokyo along with April Ross and Alix Klineman.
Claes, 25, and Sponcil, 24, will become the youngest beach volleyball team in U.S. Olympic history.