Updated Aug 6, 2021 - Sports

How this U.S. Olympic beach volleyball duo "finally" realized gold medal dream

April Ross #1 of Team United States and Alix Klineman #2 celebrate after the play against Team Cuba during the Women's Round of 16 beach volleyball on day ten of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
April Ross and Alix Klineman of Team USA celebrate after the play against Team Cuba during the Women's Round of 16 beach volleyball on day ten of the Tokyo Games. Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

When Alix Klineman switched from indoor to beach volleyball in 2017, April Ross had already won two Olympic medals on the sand. In 2018, the two players teamed up, and they've been on a success streak ever since.

The big picture: Their partnership is one driven by past failures and bound by future aspirations. After being left off Olympic rosters for indoor volleyball year after year, Klineman's tenacity matched with her partner's prowess ultimately led to the realization of her Olympic dreams.

  • Entering the Tokyo Games, Ross, who already had a silver and bronze medal, hoped Klineman would help her realize her own Olympic dream of winning the gold. Those dreams came true on Friday, when the pair won the gold against Australia.
How it happened:
  • Prelim - Pool B
    • Klineman and Ross beat China in their first match.
    • The U.S. team defeated Spain in its second matchup.
    • Klineman and Ross won their match against the Netherlands.
  • Round of 16: Klineman and Ross beat Cuba.
  • Quarterfinals: The U.S. team defeated Germany.
  • Semifinals - Klineman and Ross beat Switzerland.
  • Gold medal match: The U.S. team defeated Australia to win Olympic gold.
What they're saying:
  • "I am just so thankful I chose [Klineman] as a partner when she was brand new," Ross told Fansided. "She was searching for a partner and now I feel like she's one of the best players in the world."
  • "You know I love competing and I'm very determined and I feel like ultimately my will was stronger than anything else, so that's why I feel like I'm here," Klineman recently said, per E! News.
Tokyo medal:
  • 🥇
Previous Olympic medals...

2012 London Games

  • 🥈- Ross took home silver with Jennifer Kessy

2016 Rio Games

  • 🥉- Ross won bronze with Kerri Walsh Jennings

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

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