Oct 28, 2013, 2:12 PM PST
Kerri Walsh Jennings has become a household name while playing what most would consider a fringe sport. In many ways, she put beach volleyball on the map and helped it become one of the more popular Olympic sports. On Sunday, the Santa Clara native won her 113th tournament to become the all-time winningest female beach volleyball player.
Walsh Jennings, 35, passed her longtime teammate Misty May-Treanor, who is now retired, with the win. The victory came alongside April Ross in the Xiamen Grand Slam in China.
“I have been blessed in my career as a professional beach volleyball player, and I am so grateful to all those who have helped me to chase my dreams with such success,” Walsh Jennings said in a press release. “I’m proud, I’m humbled and I’m inspired to keep fighting for my dreams and for this great sport.”
The way in which Walsh Jennings has dominated her sport is very rare. She is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and won her first event in 2001. According to the Association of Volleyball Professionals, Walsh has won 60 percent of the tournaments that she has entered. She has won tournaments on five of the seven continents (she has never played in Australia or Antarctica) and in 18 different countries.
Walsh Jennings is a mother of three and several years older than most of her competitors, but she is sticking around long enough to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It would be hard to imagine Olympic Beach Volleyball without both Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor.
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