'So Far From Done': Beach Volleyball's Kerri Walsh
Photo: Kyle Terada/Stanfordphoto.com
By Sam Scott
At Stanford, Kerri Walsh, ’00, won two national volleyball titles with the Cardinal and was a four-time first-team All-American. She played on Team USA’s indoor team in 2000, where they placed fourth. After, she made the switch to sand, winning Olympic gold in 2004 and 2008 with Misty May-Treanor. Now Walsh, perhaps the most famous current Stanford Olympian, takes to the beach with two new, very important fans behind her—her sons, born in 2009 and 2010.
You’re sponsored by Pampers now, which makes sense for the mother of two young children. How’s life as an Olympian different now that you are a mom?
I have realized that I need a lot more help: It takes a village. Our boys are really reasonable and they travel the world like champs. My husband is also an amazing husband and father. This helps immensely to keep our family close. I want to teach my kids to chase their dreams, and they can learn so much by being vulnerable and challenging themselves. Being a mother was my ultimate dream, and being able to go after my third gold medal with them behind me is the best feeling in the world. Pampers is such a beautiful brand and they make babies’ and families’ lives more special and wonderful. My partnership is a family partnership, which is so special to me. It’s not just me anymore, I am a working mom.
With three Olympics in the bag and two gold medals to your name, what keeps your driving for more?
I am so blessed to love my job so much. The beach is my office and that is incredible. Now I have my boys and I want to win gold for them. I want to prove to everyone that I can win gold as a mom. Being a mother is so amazing and I want to prove that really you can do it all!
This is the first Olympics where beach volleyball players can wear shorts and shirts, reportedly to provide greater options for countries whose religious or cultural beliefs may prohibit participation in the sport [prior regulations required bikinis]. As someone with world-famous abs, how do you feel about this? Will you be changing your look?
My bikini is something I really feel comfortable with. It's something I feel empowered by, not distracted with. I'm not a sex symbol; I'm an athlete. I want to be streamlined out there. [But] I think [the change] is fantastic. I don’t want anything as trivial as a uniform to keep anyone from chasing their dreams.
In 2008, you were part of the record 24 medals won by Stanford alumni athletes. Is there any kind of Cardinal community in the Olympic Village? What do you do when you’re not competing?
Train, work-out, watch other matches, relax, and hang out with my family. There is usually a huge group [of Stanford athletes] that comes to support, which is incredible!
What can we expect to see you doing after London?
I want to focus on my family and gear up for Rio 2016! In my heart, I am so far from done. I want to keep proving that we are the best.
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