Hamburg, Germany, August 18, 2018 - On the two-year anniversary of their Beach Volleyball gold medal triumph in the Rio 2016 Olympics, Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst were reunited here Friday in front of the media in their hometown at the Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals presented by vodafone.
They both have had life-changing experiences, they each have new jobs, but they are plotting their return to the FIVB World Tour as the next Olympic qualifying cycle begins for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Ludwig is now a mother, with Teo Johnston arriving a month and a half ago. Walkenhorst got married and is battling injuries after playing with a different partner - at a new position - on the German domestic tour.
“I have another job of being a mother, really nobody can imagine if they don’t experience it, I guess,” Ludwig said. “All in all. it’s the best experience of my life having our little Teo and every day is different, and every day is developing. Right now, I can’t imagine practice in the day because the day is full of Teo 24/7. The first three months is for us as a family and we’ll see how we manage it. We have two- to three-year plans and opportunities, but there’s no program.”
The German Olympic and world champions visit with the media at the 2018 World Tour Finals in Hamburg.
If all goes right, the duo plans to hit the sand together again in the 2019 Fort Lauderdale Major in February.
“February is in my head if we can make it,” Ludwig said, who will turn 33 in January and started playing on the FIVB World Tour in 2005. “But we still have a lot of tournaments next year and in the next two years.”
That includes next summer’s 2019 FIVB World Championships back in the burgeoning Beach Volleyball capital of Germany. By the way, that’s another gold medal title Ludwig and Walkenhorst hope to defend after the pair topped the 2017 world championship podium in Vienna.
FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° (left) presents the 2017 world championship trophy to Laura Ludwig (center) and Kira Walkenhorst.
“It’s definitely a dream come true, the World Championships at home,” Ludwig said. “Nobody in Germany would have expected that and it’s happening so fast and it’s really good, it’s high quality here. I’m really impressed how cool German fans can be. They are not as stiff as normal, they’re going nuts here and they love the party. Hamburg is definitely a sport city and I think you can feel that here.”
Walkenhorst, Ludwig’s blocker, has been playing defense and learning the ropes of the position Ludwig patrolled.
“I’m really happy that I can switch back next year,” Walkenhorst said. “Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, it’s a new position for me and I like to try new things. But with Laura I go back to my old position.”
We’ll find out if they go back to their old winning ways.
For the record, Ludwig formed her partnership in April 2013 with Walkenhorst after playing in her first 87 FIVB World Tour events with Sara Goller Niedrig as the pair competed in the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games.
Since their first event together in China, Ludwig and Walkenhorst have played in 43 FIVB tournaments with 11 gold medals, 18 podium placements, 21 "final fours" with US$991,276 in earnings and an 183-60 match mark (75.3 percent).
Kira Walkenhorst (left) and Laura Ludwig with their last FIVB paycheck by winning their second World Tour Finals last August in Hamburg.