Walsh Jennings not ruling Paris 2024 out   


LAUSANNE, Switzerland, July 23, 2020 – Kerri Walsh Jennings is currently on a journey to become just the second woman to compete in five editions of the Olympic Games beach volleyball tournament in Tokyo next year, but that might not be the final stop of her illustrious career.


Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic champion and four-time medallist, has her sights locked on the qualification process for the Games in the Japanese capital next year with partner Brooke Sweat, but making another run to Paris 2024 is not out of the picture for her.


The fact that the Tokyo Olympics were postponed from this year to the summer of 2021 might help the case of the 41-year-old blocker, who would have a shorter quad between the Games in the Japanese capital and the edition in France, making the period between the events easier to manage.


“My husband said to me, hey babe, now the Tokyo Games are in 2021, the next Olympics after that are going to be even closer together, you could do another one,” Walsh Jennings said in an interview to the Olympic Channel. “I truly don't know when I'll retire but I hope to keep playing forever, maybe not at Olympic level, but still playing. I haven't ruled out Paris 2024. I love Paris, it's a great city and I would love to be there. If I'm not on the court playing I will be speaking too fast on a microphone.”


Before thinking four years ahead, however, Walsh Jennings prefers to focus on the present. And it’s not been an easy reality for her, who hasn’t played in a beach volleyball event since last year’s FIVB World Tour Chetumal Open, in November.


Currently ranked fifth in the provisional Olympic rankings, Sweat and her still need some more results to cement their qualification for Tokyo and they are hoping the forced break gives them extra energy when competition resumes.


“I'm more excited to play than ever before,” she stated. “This time has given me a chance to be revitalized and remember how much I love the game of beach volleyball. You know when you've been playing as long as I have, the shininess of it all can wear off. But I have so much energy and passion and love for the game and this time to pause has really reminded me of all that.”


The time off the courts has already indicated at least one area in which they could improve their game. And, at least for once in her career, it doesn’t include working more or under a more strict regimen.


“We've realized that we both take things seriously and that we need to relax more because that's when we play free, and when we play free we play our best,” the blocker reflected. “We both want to be better and actually the Olympics moving to 2021 is great for us because we have more time to improve.”