Kerri Walsh Jennings "laser-focused" on Tokyo 2020

Three-time gold medallist Jennings determined to qualify for a sixth Games with new partner Brooke Sweat.

By Rory Jiwani

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Kerri Walsh Jennings may be 40 years old, but still feels she can beat beach volleyball's finest.

The American has announced her intention to play on for two more seasons and finish her career at Tokyo 2020 with a new partner.

“The qualifying process has already begun and I have a new partner, Brooke Sweat, and we are definitely laser-focused on qualifying for the Olympics, because we want to win it!” Kerri told

Not bad for a mother of three who also balances her sporting career with raising money for children's charities.

Unfinished business

Perhaps it was a bronze-medal finish at Rio 2016 alongside April Ross that persuaded Walsh Jennings to have one more crack at Olympic gold.

She described her state of mind after that tournament as "living in fear on the court".

Injuries also affected her new partnership with Nicole Branagh, and they split after failing to make the 2017 FIVB World Tour finals.

Before then, Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor had dominated the sport for a decade, winning their third consecutive Olympic title at London 2012.

Now she is hoping to strike up a similarly powerful alliance with Sweat, a four-time ABVP (Association of Beach Volleyball Professionals) Defensive Player of the Year winner.

“We have foundation of respect. We have a similar you know set of values and principals and a love for the game. We both love to work hard and win,” Kerri told"

"I believe that’s gonna serve us very well. But each relationship is different. And I’m never one to compare my partners to each other.

"This is a new relationship it will require new things from me. And I will grow because of this new partnership and I am excited.”

Kerri Walsh Jennings in action at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Itapema. (Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images)

New Year's action

Walsh Jennings and Sweat's road to Tokyo starts in The Hague, where the pair are playing at the FIVB World Tour 4-Star Dela Beach Open.

They made the perfect start in Pool H, beating Czech duo Michaela Kubickova and Michala Kvapilova 21-11, 21-12.

This is their third tournament together after a last 32 exit in Las Vegas, and third place in the 3-Star event in Chetumal, Mexico.

While Olympic qualification is a long way off, the duo's pedigree and experience make for a potentially explosive combination.

And they could meet some familiar opposition in the Netherlands with Walsh Jennings' Rio 2016 partner Ross and Alix Klineman defending their title.

Despite Walsh Jennings turning 42 the week after Tokyo 2020 draws to a close, it would take a brave person to bet against her making her sixth Games in Japan.