Kerri Lee Walsh (Born August 15, 1978) is an American beach volleyball player. Walsh was born in the U.S. state of California to Tim and Margie Walsh, and grew up in Saratoga.
From her parents, she obtained an important advantage for volleyball, her height. At 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m), Walsh is one of the tallest women volleyball players and one of the strongest blockers. She is aided even further by having exceptional arm length and reach. As a high school student, she played on the varsity team at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose. Walsh continued on to Stanford University where she won a volleyball national championship, received the Player of the Year Award and earned a spot on the All American First Team. She has played both indoor and beach volleyball. With her rapidly rising beach volleyball career earnings, she may be one of only a handful of people to become a multi-millionaire from a second-tier sport sometime in the future, much like Tony Hawk with Skateboarding.
In the 2000 Summer Olympics, she played indoor volleyball where the United States team finished in fourth place. In the 2004 Summer Olympics, Walsh and Misty May became the first American team to win the gold medal for women's beach volleyball. Winning an unprecedented ninety-one matches and 16 tournaments in a row, Walsh and May captured the gold without ever losing a game. Currently Walsh is ranked as the best female volleyball player in the world, and as of 2005 the Kerri Walsh-Misty May duo appear to be almost unstoppable on both the AVP and FIVB Beach Volleyball tours. Further into the future, she is likely to participate in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a strong seed to win a second gold medal and perhaps even a third in the 2012 London games. As beach volleyball is a sport where athletes can perform effectively well into their 30's, such assumptions are within reason.
Beyond winning dozens of tournaments, Kerri is an extremely valuable marketing idol for the sport. Her friendly and personable demeanor, great sportsmanship, and god-like presence on the court have done much to fuel the popularity of beach volleyball in the 2000's. She has appeared in several television commercials and been a guest on a number of popular talk shows as a result.
Walsh has also emerged over time as being a somewhat unlikely sex symbol, as despite her fitness and bikini-clad attire, such a label has traditionally been reserved for women of a much more common stature. At 6 ft 3 inches she easily towers over most men, sometimes to a profound degree. In addition, the circulation of numerous photographs of her in close physical contact with Misty May have only added to her allure.
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