Walsh Jennings chases Emanuel's record

Gstaad, Switzerland, July 10, 2018 - All the great beach volleyball players in the past 20 years have played a least a tournament or two here in the Swiss Alps.

And starting Wednesday American standout Kerry Walsh Jennings will be seeking to win a seventh gold medal in the village where she played her second FIVB World Tour event as she and partner Nicole Branagh meet Germans Karla Borger and Margareta Kozuch in a Pool E match on centre court.

The legendary Brazilian Emanuel Rego holds the record for gold medals collected at one site when he topped the podium in Norway seven times (1999, 2001-2006) with three different partners (Jose Loiola, Tande Ramos and Ricardo Santos) on the dock-side courts in Stavanger.

Walsh Jennings, who turns 40 next month, will be competing in her 14th event in Gstaad as she competes with Branagh for the second time in Gstaad after the pair placed ninth here last season.

Walsh Jennings' previous 12 appearances in the Swiss village were with Misty May-Treanor (eight times) and April Ross (four). One of Walsh Jennings' post-May-Treanor memorable moments was a 2015 win in Gstaad with Ross as the pair defeated Brazilians Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas. In the second set of a 2-0 (21-17, 23-21) victory, Walsh Jennings dislocated her right shoulder and returned to fuel a win over Agatha and Barbara.

After placing third in her first Gstaad appearance in 2001 with May-Treanor, Walsh Jennings and her three-time Olympic gold medal partner topped the village podium five times (2002-2004, 2006-2007) in a six-year period by compiling a 34-match victory streak highlighted by winning the 2007 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships.

Misty May-Treanor (left) and Kerri Walsh Jennings after winning the 2007 FIVB World Championships in Gstaad

After a three-year hiatus from Gstaad (2008-2010), the Walsh Jennings/May-Treanor partnership returned to the Alps village to place fifth in 2011 before winning their sixth Swiss gold medal in 2014. In the pair’s eight Gstaad appearances, Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor reached the podium seven times and amassed a 51-3 match record with two losses to Americans Barbra Fontana/Elaine Youngs in 2001 and a 2011 setback to Greta Cicolari/Marta Menegatti.

With the retirement of May-Treanor following the London 2012 Summer Games where the pair won their third-straight Olympic gold medal by defeating Jen Kessy and Ross in the All-American finale, Walsh played in Gstaad four times with Ross (2013-2016, 16-6 record) and last July with Branagh where the pair won two of five matches.

A total of nine players have won five or more gold medals at the same location, but Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor's six Gstaad titles tied Brazilians Shelda Bede/Adriana Behar for most podium-topping placements for one team at one event.

Kerri Walsh Jennings (right) hits against Shelda Bede in the last match between the two legendary teams (Walsh Jennings/May-Treanor vs. Adriana/Shelda) in August 2007 in Montreal, Canada

Adriana and Shelda, who dropped gold medal matches to Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor at the 2002 and 2004 Gstaad events, topped the podium six times at the Japanese stop in Osaka (1998-2002, 2004). The 2001 Osaka finale was one of the epic women’s finales on the FIVB World Tour as Adriana and Shelda posted a 2-1 (21-23, 30-28, 13-15) gold medal win over Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor in 66 minutes.

Here is a list of individuals with five or more FIVB World Tour gold medals at one event.


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