Olympic Update: Kerri-Walsh Jennings and April Ross Dominate Again On the Sand
Favorites to win gold in Rio dominate Chinese in FIVB test event
Last Saturday (May 21), NBC televised a FIVB Olympic test event in beach volleyball. With three-time defending gold medalist Kerri Walsh-Jennings (her former partner Misti May-Treanor retired shortly after claiming gold after the 2012 London Olympics), she teamed up with veteran AVP beach star April Ross to win in the inaugural FIVB test event at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio near Cincinnati.
The top ranked team of Walsh-Jennings and Ross needed only 66 minutes to dispose of the Chinese pair of Chen Xue and Xinyi Xia (seeded 13th according to the FIVB rankings released during the week of May 17) by the scores of 20-22, 21-14, and 18-16.
As for the Brazil contingent of Fernanda and Josi, the eighth seeded team upended the upstart American pair led by Jen Kessy in Pool H. However, their run ended at the hands of the aforementioned Chinese pair in the quarterfinal round on Friday.
No question about it, the Americans are the team to beat along Copacabana Beach in August. But the way I see things going forward, don’t count out the host Brazilians since their crowd will have more enthusiasm than your favorite college pep band on a typical fall Saturday afternoon. Also, the Germans and teams representing Spain and the Netherlands could vie for a medal.
A few more FIVB test events around the globe will be the final international tune-ups before the Rio Olympics began in earnest the first weekend of August. As long as the players arrive healthy and stay away from catching the Zika virus, things should be fine.