April Ross and Alix Klineman Go for Gold in Beach Volleyball
April Ross will play for her third Olympic medal in beach volleyball.
Thursday morning, as the sand baked in the sun and a few spectators searched for spots of shade, the American pair of Ross and Alix Klineman beat Anouk Vergé-Dépré and Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich in straight sets, 21-12, 21- 11, to qualify for the gold medal game.
Ross won a silver medal at the London 2012 Games with partner Jen Kessy and a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Games with Kerri Walsh Jennings.
Now with Klineman, an indoor volleyball player who made the transition to beach volleyball in 2017, Ross is looking to add an elusive gold to her collection.
They expected their semi-final game to be difficult. Vergé-Dépré and Heidrich qualified for the semi-finals with an impressive run, beating Brazil, 21-19, 18-21, 15-12, on Tuesday.
When asked if aiming for an Olympic medal was becoming old news, Ross laughed.
“No!” she said emphatically. “We will prepare as much as possible and recover as much as possible for tomorrow. “
This rest will have to come quickly. The final will be played in sunny Tokyo midday. But Ross and Klineman don’t seem worried. They are getting used to the heat, they said, and are mentally prepared for the sweltering conditions expected in the final.
They will face Australians Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy, who hope to follow in the footsteps of Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst, the last Australian duo to win an Olympic medal in the sport, a gold medal in 2000.
The gold medal game is set for 11:30 a.m. Friday in Tokyo, 10:30 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday.
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