A Gold-Medal Mom
- Ingrid Skjong
- May 27 2015
- 0 comments
Back in 2012, at the Summer Olympics in London, pro beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings and her then teammate, Misty May-Treanor, won a gold medal for the third time. But another three-peat went virtually unnoticed: Walsh Jennings was five weeks pregnant with her third child, daughter Scout Margery.
Flash forward three years and it is clear that motherhood suits the winningest female beach volleyball player of all time. “I feel like I’m a more well-balanced person internally and I think the more balance you have in your life the better you’re going to perform in all areas and that certainly translated to my career. I really cherish my job,” says the 36-year-old, who lives in Manhattan Beach, California, with her husband, fellow pro volleyball player Casey Jennings. “Before I had kids I felt like I was just wasting time and my true purpose was to be a mommy. It’s given me the life perspective that comes from being a parent, but it’s also given me perspective for how lucky I am to have the job that I have and the situation and lifestyle that I have as well.”
This month, Walsh Jennings and April Ross, her partner as of 2013, are preparing for the start of the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour, which kicks off in New Orleans on May 21. The two won every tournament on the AVP tour in 2014—a first in its 31 years—and are focused on taking home the gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. But Walsh Jennings, who wants to “dominate in everything that my partner and I do,” admits that finding her competitive spirit after having her kids wasn’t always easy. “After my daughter, it took a little bit longer for the lion inside of me to come out in competition,” she explains. “I think I was hedging my bets a little bit. When you’re not 100 percent physically it’s harder to get hungry because you feel like you have a weakness and it’s exposed.”
During each pregnancy she lifted weights and did Pilates before taking one full month of complete rest after giving birth. Now she holds to a holistic training approach, working with an “A-team” of trainers and focusing on weight training, beach workouts, Pilates and lots of mental prep. It all makes for a full schedule, to say the least. “I’m way more efficient of a person in general now,” she says. “I thought I was busy before I had kids and I was delusional. It’s off the charts now.”
That schedule also includes volleyball practice for her two sons, five-year-old Joseph Michael and four-year-old Sundance Thomas. The two started playing this month, and Walsh Jennings couldn’t be happier seeing them try out the family business.
“Casey and I take pride in what we do,” she says. “We like having our kids know that we’re chasing dreams and we’re working hard. Our job is so performance based. The stress of it sometimes becomes a little bit tedious. So to have the kids to go to after a game, good or bad, is really wonderful.”