Oh Babies! Oakley’s Kerri Walsh Triumphs in Thailand, Grabs First FIVB Gold As a Mom
Oakley’s Kerri Walsh is no stranger to Gold Medals.
But the hardware-loaded Oakley star had yet to win one…as a mom, that is. Lo and behold, the beach bomber (and her partner Nicole Branagh) crushed her way to victory this past weekend at the Phuket Thailand Open – topping the Italian duo of Marta Menegatti and Valeria Rosso 21-23, 21-14, 15-11. Kerri hadn’t played in a title match since 2008.
“This win is so special to me; it’s my first win as a mother of two,” said Kerri, who was rockin’ Oakley bikini bottoms and Commit shades. She hadn’t competed on the international stage since 2008 due to her new babies. “I would feel better about it if I had played better in the last match. I’m bummed I let the nerves get to me. I’ve played some big matches in big settings, but today I was nervous.”
Her case of jitters reared its head in the first set as the American pair was bested by their Italian counterparts. The Europeans themselves were the first Italians to reach an FIVB World Tour Title – adding to the anxiety on both sides of the net. But in the end, it was Kerri and Nicole’s experience explosiveness and experience that ultimately won out, handing Kerri her 39th career FIVB gold medal – shooting her ahead of long-time partner and superstar Misty May-Treanor (who also is a new mother). Kerri and Misty grabbed 35 of those medals together, including those at the Olympics and Worlds.
But this particular winning run was no walk in the…sand.
A discouraging second round loss almost gave Walsh one her worst, if not the worst finish of her career. But the American team rebounded, big time, to nab the first American victory on the tour (women’s) since May.
Congratulations to Kerri and Nicole for an amazing weekend in Thailand!