Walsh goose-pimply over prospect of a third gold
Just the mention of a possible third consecutive Olympic gold medal forced Kerri Walsh Jennings to rub her bare arms and give her shoulder a shudder.
''Oh, my goosebumps,'' she said.
Already the only Olympians to win two beach volleyball golds, Walsh Jennings and partner Misty May-Treanor will try for a third in London.
Walsh Jennings competed in Beijing under her maiden name but is now going by her married name. And that's not the only thing that's changed.
The 33-year-old Californian has had two children since the Beijing Games, and they are in London with her and husband Casey Jennings - and a whole lot of other family. She has spent much of her time making sure the kids are set for tickets and naps.
''A lot of life has been lived for me,'' she said. Before I thought I was busy. Now I know I was delusional. I am more busy times a million.''
Speaking Thursday at the opening of a training facility for U.S. Olympians at the University of East London, Walsh Jennings listed other athletes she has bumped into since arriving Monday: swimmer Michael Phelps and basketball players Tony Parker and Ronny Turiaf.
''I still feel like a giddy little girl,'' Walsh Jennings said. ''The first couple of days are kind of like the first days of high school.''
Walsh Jennings played indoor volleyball at the 2000 Olympics, then won the gold medal with May-Treanor in Athens and again in Beijing. No beach volleyball player - man or woman - had won two gold medals since it became an Olympic sport in 1996.
But Walsh Jennings said there's no pressure in being a two-time defending champion. What does add to the expectations is that May-Treanor is planning to retire after the games.
Since January, the two have been getting teary-eyed over each milestone, with Walsh Jennings joking that they would get choked up over their ''last practice on a Tuesday.''
''We struggled with that at the beginning of the year. We were holding on too tight because we wanted to be too perfect,'' Walsh Jennings said. ''We want to go out how we feel we should go out, and that's on top.''
The 24-team women's tournament begins Saturday at Horse Guards Parade, the temporary venue set up a long serve from the Prime Minister's residence at 10 Downing St. Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor will play late Saturday night against five-time Olympian Natalie Cook and Tasmin Hinchley of Australia.
''It's really humbling and fun, and I will never get bored of this,'' Walsh Jennings said.