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Kerri Walsh Jennings Opens Up About First Olympics Without Her Gold-Medal Partner

For this year's Games, the beach volleyball star is paired with April Ross.

With the end of the 2012 Summer Olympics came the end of an era for beach volleyball’s Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor.

The duo had been teammates for nearly a decade and in their time together, they dominated the sport, becoming what many consider the greatest beach volleyball team of all time. But after winning their third consecutive Olympic gold in the Games four years ago, May-Treanor packed up her swimsuit and retired.

Walsh Jennings, meanwhile, is heading to Rio with a new teammate and an uncontainable excitement. “Every single day as it gets closer, my butterflies are flying and the excitement is tangible,” she tells “Oprah: Where Are They Now?”

Walsh Jennings’ partner in Rio will be April Ross, an Olympic silver medalist with whom Walsh-Jennings joined forces four years ago, almost immediately after the Olympics in London.

“I knew Misty was retiring,” Walsh Jennings says. “In London, on the sand, after Misty and I had won, I gave April a hug and ― on the sand, like, two minutes after we’d won ― I said, ‘Now let’s go win a gold in Rio.’”

Partnering with Ross in particular, she adds, just made sense.

“It was the next logical step. April had every single thing that I would ever want in a partner. Skill-wise, she’s just insane. She’s so good, she’s so physical,” Walsh Jennings says.

Though the entire field of beach volleyball is now fiercer than it’s ever been, Walsh Jennings has a clear strategy for how she and Ross can rise above the sea of tough competitors.

“We’ve got to focus on us,” she says. “The rest takes care of itself.”

Another Olympic perspective:

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