Sep 25, 2012, 8:03 AM EST
With the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero just around the corner (only 1,409 days left!), moves are being made by U.S. beach volleyball players to put themselves in position for gold on Copacabana Beach.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings announced Monday that she and husband Casey are expecting a third child, which was actually five weeks along as Kerri and Misty May-Treanor completed their gold-medal trifecta. The timing is, of course, strategic, as having a baby in April (she’s due April 9) allows Kerri to find a new Olympic partner as soon as next summer. Misty announced her retirement following the London Games as Kerri conceded she still wants a fourth gold.
The most logical teammate seems to be 2008 Olympian Nicole Branagh, with whom Kerri has played with since London. Yes, not only was she pregnant in London, she’s been getting more pregnant while competing in three tournaments the past six weeks.
Another logical partner would appear to be April Ross, who teamed with Jen Kessy in London to take the silver medal. But Ross and Kessy are now the No. 1 U.S. team, so why wouldn’t they stay together for at least another summer? At 35, Kessy probably won’t make it back to the Games, meaning Ross could be available to join Walsh Jennings. But with Kerri out until at least next July, Ross might as well stay with Kessy until 2014.
As for the American men — who just turned in one of the most disappointing Olympic performances ever — our country’s two most enticing players will finally team up. Following the international retirement of Todd Rogers, 2008 Olympic MVP Phil Dalhausser picked up Sean Rosenthal.
At 6-foot-9, Dalhausser is one of the most-feared players in the world with his strong serving and spiking. Thus, he rarely received serves. He now teams with Rosenthal, who also saw most serves go to his partner, Jake Gibb, because Rosie boasts some of the best hops in the game and a similarly strong spike.
But with Dalhausser and Rosenthal on the same side, opponents will just have to pick their poison. They better hurry up, too. They only have 1,409 days to get ready for Rio.
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