Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross

Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross eliminated in first beach volleyball tournament together

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Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross‘ partnership got off to a strong start in their debut event, but it came to a screeching halt Friday.

Walsh Jennings and Ross were eliminated before the quarterfinals at an FIVB tour stop in Gstaad, Switzerland, by Brazilians Maria Antonelli and Agatha Bednarczuk 21-17, 22-20.

It marked Walsh Jennings’ first tournament since 2012. She had her third child in April, daughter Scout, and appeared in ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue this week.

Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic champion, and Ross, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, went 3-0 in pool play before losing their first elimination-round match.

“I’m disappointed in how we did,” Ross said in an FIVB press release. “I thought we played better each match in pool play and then I feel we went back a step in this match. Kerri hurt her abs a little bit and I didn’t contribute at all; I wasn’t digging balls and couldn’t get my serve in the court.”

Also notable in the release was this line …

Towards the end of 2013 Ross and Walsh will go fulltime, though the pair are remaining tight-lipped on the subject and offered only a coy, “by the end of the year,” when pressed on the subject.

Walsh Jennings and Ross will not play together at the Long Beach Grand Slam from July 22-27. Walsh Jennings will play with Whitney Pavlik, and Ross will go with silver-medal teammate Jennifer Kessy.

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David Ortiz weighed down by Aly Raisman’s medals (video)

David Ortiz, Aly Raisman
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David Ortiz called his good friend Aly Raisman on Thursday night. Raisman had one request for their scheduled meeting for Friday.

“I told him that he had to hold my medals while I threw out the first pitch,” Raisman said on NESN. “I told him he better not forget, but he remembered.”

Ortiz made it a highlight, wearing Raisman’s three Rio medals and plodding as if they were weighing him down before the Royals-Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Friday night.

It was reminiscent of Bryce Harper serving as a medal rack for Katie Ledecky on Wednesday night.

Ortiz and Raisman have come to know each other in the last four years, after Raisman’s first Olympic appearance in London. Raisman, a native of Needham, Massachusetts, has attended a gala and golf tournament benefitting Ortiz’s children’s charity.

She previously threw a first pitch at Fenway following the 2012 London Games. It didn’t faze Raisman that her pitch Friday bounced before reaching home plate.

“My pitch was horrible, but that’s OK,” Raisman said on NESN. “I’m good at gymnastics, so it doesn’t matter.”

Raisman will rejoin her Final Five teammates for a USA Gymnastics tour of 36 cities that begins Sept. 15. Whether she returns to competitive gymnastics is unknown.

MORE: Gymnastics royalty reacts to Biles and Raisman’s Olympic heroics

 

Claressa Shields congratulated by famous boxing actor (video)

Claressa Shields
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Claressa Shields may just be the most dominant female athlete on the planet. The Flint, Mich., native is now a two-time Olympic boxing champion with a 77-1 record and a four-year unbeaten streak.

Actor Mark Wahlberg, who played boxer Micky Ward in the 2010 film “The Fighter,” took notice.

He taped a video that Shields watched before a celebration in her hometown Thursday, according to the Flint Journal.

“You are the true definition of a champion,” Wahlberg said. “You continue to inspire so many people, not only in Flint, but all over the world. I’m so proud of you. Your performance was amazing. God bless you. I look forward to seeing you, and I look forward to doing lots of things with you.”

Now Shields must decide whether to turn professional, which would end her Olympic career.

“Professional women’s boxing is not nowhere near on the same attention level as the Olympics are,” the 21-year-old Shields said, according to the Flint Journal. “I get way more attention than any female boxer who is professional right now with me being an amateur.

“So the goal is to go professional but still have that same attention and same mainstream. Hopefully, if they have the rule changed that the women professionals can come back and fight the Olympics, I would go professional to fight on TV and make a bunch of money but then come back and defend my two gold medals in 2020.”

MORE: Shields becomes first U.S. fighter to win back-to-back golds