Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 5, 2016 - #3 Seed April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States wrap up day one of the Rio Olympics in the wee hours of the morning against #22 seed Mariafe Artacho/Nicole Laird of Australia. Kerri will be looking to win her fourth Olympic Gold medal with new partner April Ross who is hoping to improve on her silver medal with Jen Kessy in London. Mariafe and Nicole are playing in their first Olympics.
Head to Head
The two pairs have met one time previously on the FIVB World Tour with Ross/Walsh Jennings winning a three-set match, 18-21, 21-15 and 15-12 in pool play at the 2015 World Championships in The Hague, Netherlands in June, 2015.
Historically the #3 seed has won all four meetings in the Olympic Games with two straight set victories in the three rally scoring matches. In Beijing, the #22 seed, Georgia's Andrezza "Rtvelo" Martins/Cristine "Saka" Santanna forced a third set against Brazil's Ana Paula Henkel/Larissa Franca, capturing the first set 25-23 before falling 17-21 and 5-15 in 55 minutes.
April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings, United States, Seed #3, Pool C, Qualified 3rd with 6,670 Points in the 2015-16 Olympic qualification period
• April: June 20, 1982 (34y1m17d), 185 cm (6'1"), 76 kg (169 lbs.), Hometown Newport Beach, California 114th FIVB World Tour event (ranks 36th), 20 gold medals (ranks 8th), $979,175 career winnings (ranks 8th)
• Kerri: August 15, 1978 (37y11m22d), 188 cm (6'2"), 70 kg (155 lbs.), Hometown Santa Clara, California 115th FIVB World Tour event (ranks 34th), 54 gold medals (ranks 2nd), $1,409,170 career winnings, (ranks 3rd)
• April and Kerri have been playing together since 2013. They are playing in their 29th FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament together, 10 gold medals (ranks 7th), $680,500 career winnings (ranks 17th).
• April has played in 54 FIVB World Tour final fours with 20 gold, 15 silver, 11 bronze medals and eight 4th place finishes.
• Kerri has played in 86 FIVB World Tour final fours with 54 gold, 18 silver, nine bronze medals and five 4th place finishes.
• April and Kerri have played in 11 Final Fours in 2015-2016 (Bronze Fuzhou Open 2015, 4th Gstaad Major 2015, Silver Long Beach Grand Slam 2015, Gold Rio de Janeiro Grand Slam 2016, Silver Vitória Open 2016, Bronze Xiamen Open 2016, Gold Fuzhou Open 2016, Gold Cincinnati Open 2016, Gold Moscow Grand Slam 2016, 4th Hamburg Major 2016, Silver Gstaad Major 2016).
• April won the silver medal in the Olympic Games with Jennifer Kessy in 2012 (London).
• Kerri is a three-time defending Olympic games gold medalist, winning with Misty May-Treanor in 2004 (Athens), 2008 (Beijing), and 2012 (London). She is competing in her fourth Olympics in beach volleyball, more than any other woman in Rio, which ties May-Treanor for second most. Australia's Natalie Cook leads all women with five Olympic appearances from 1996-2012.
• April and Kerri finished 9th in the FIVB World Championships in 2015 (The Hague).
• April finished 37th in the FIVB World Championships in 2007 (Gstaad), won the gold medal in 2009 (Stavanger), and finished 5th in 2011 (Rome), all with Jennifer Kessy and finished 4th with Whitney Pavlik in 2013 (Stare Jablonki).
• Kerri finished 9th in the FIVB World Championships in 2001 (Klagenfurt), won gold medals in 2003 (Rio de Janeiro), 2005 (Berlin), and 2007 (Gstaad), and won the silver medal in 2011 (Rome), all with Misty May-Treanor.
• April and Kerri are currently ranked 3rd in FIVB World Tour points in 2016 with 4,730 points and 2nd in winnings with $217,000.
• April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings have a career 145-26 (84.8%) match record in FIVB World Tour Events and a 79-18 (81.4%) record in the 2015-16 Olympic qualification period.
• April was named the FIVB World Tour Top Rookie in 2007, Best Hitter in 2009 and 2011, Best Offensive Player in 2009, and Best Server in 2011, 2012, and 2015.
• Kerri was named the FIVB World Tour Best Blocker in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, and 2014, Best Hitter in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2012, Best Offensive Player in 2007 and 2014, Most Inspirational in 2011, 2012, and 2014, Most Outstanding in 2007, 2012, 2013, and 2014, Sportsperson in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2012, and was the FIVB World Tour Points Champion in 2002 with Misty May-Treanor.
• Kerri is the oldest women's player competing in the Rio Olympics at 37 years, 11 months. She is the sixth oldest in all Olympic Games; Australia's Kerri Pottharst is the oldest at 39 years, 1 month at the start of the 2004 Olympics in Sydney.
Mariafe Artacho/Nicole Laird, Australia, Seed #22, Pool C, Qualified through Asian Confederation (AVC) Continental Cup
• Mariafe: October 24, 1993 (22y9m13d), 175 cm (5'9"), 67 kg (149 lbs.), Hometown Peru, 21st FIVB World Tour event, $28,975 career winnings
• Nicole: February 18, 1993 (23y5m19d), 190 cm (6'3"), 69 kg (153 lbs.), Hometown Sydney, 14th FIVB World Tour event, $22,400 career winnings
• Mariafe and Nicole have been playing together since 2012. They are playing in their 14th FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament together, $44,800 career winnings.
• Neither player has played in an FIVB World Tour final four. Each of their best finishes are a 9th-place together in the 2014 Shanghai Open.
• Mariafe and Nicole finished 17th in the FIVB World Championships in 2015 (The Hague).
• Mariafe finished 37th in the FIVB World Championships with Jessyka Ngauamo in 2013 (Stare Jablonki).
• Mariafe and Nicole are currently ranked 55th in FIVB World Tour points in 2016 with 720 points and 40th in winnings with $19,000.
• Mariafe and Nicole have a career 18-24 (42.9%) match record in FIVB World Tour Events and a 12-20 (37.5%) record in in the 2015-16 Olympic qualification period.
• Mariafe and Nicole won the gold medal at the U23 World Championships in 2014 (Myslowice, Poland).
• Mariafe won the bronze medal at the U21 World Championships with Taliqua Clancy in 2012 (Halifax, Canada).
• Mariafe and Nicole won the bronze medal at the AVC Continental Championships in 2015 (Hong Kong) and the silver medal in 2016 (Australia).
• Mariafe and Nicole have won five gold, three silver, and three bronze medals on the AVC Continental Tour from 2013-16.
• Mariafe and Jessyka Ngauamo won the U21 AVC Continental Championships in 2013 (India).
• Mariafe and Nicole won the Asian Continental Cup where the pair teamed with Phoebe Bell/Becchara Palmer to post wins over Chinese Taipei (2-0), Japan (2-1) and Vanuatu (2-0).