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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Ashton Eaton named male IAAF Athlete of the Year

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American decathlete Ashton Eaton was named the 2015 male Athlete of the Year by the International Association of Athletics Federations, the world governing body for track and field. Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba, the reigning world champion in the 1500m, was named the female IAAF Athlete of the Year.

Eaton is the first decathlete and just the eighth American man to win the title. Tyson Gay in 2007 was the last American man to be named.

The honor came due to Eaton’s world-record-setting performance at the world championships held in Beijing this past August. There he beat the previous record, his own from the 2012 Olympic Trials, by nine points. He also set a world record for running the fastest 400m portion of the decathlon in 45.00 seconds.

In the IAAF press release, Eaton said, “Athletes spend the most vigorous years of human life, arguably called the ‘best years’, working to hone their abilities. So, when an athlete competes, what people are witnessing is the manifestation of what a human being is capable of when they choose to direct all of their time and effort towards something.

“I’m grateful and thankful to the IAAF for excellent competitions, the canvases that allow us to display our work.”

He also acknowledged sprinter Usain Bolt and triple jumper Christian Taylor, who were also up for the title: “While I’m honored that I am considered the ‘artist’ of the year, I did not beat Usain and Christian; my work simply differed in design. They are some of the most talented and beautiful performers of all time. I’m flattered to be among them.”

Dibaba has been unbeaten in the 1500m over five races in 2015. Along with winning gold and setting a world record in the 1500 at the Beijing World Championships, Diababa won a bronze medal in the 5000m event.

She gratefully accepted the award, saying, “After being a finalist and narrowly missing out on this award one year ago, I am very proud to be recognized by the fans and experts of our sport.

“I had a great season and truly enjoyed competing around the world, from Monaco where I managed to establish a world record, to Beijing where I finally captured my first world outdoor title.”

Dibaba was recently featured in a family-themed promotional video for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

MORE: Seb Coe splits from Nike as IAAF president


Olympians celebrate Thanksgiving

Meryl Davis
Team USA/ Twitter
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Nov. 26 – or Thanksgiving to the rest of us – is oftentimes a typical training day for many Olympians and Olympic hopefuls. Here’s a look at how some of them spent the day training, competing, celebrating, and being thankful.

Workout football and food😁👍!!! Happy thanksgiving everyone!!!

A photo posted by Michael Phelps (@m_phelps00) on

Happy Thanksgiving from our cold cuts Turkey to yours! #family #happyhappyheart

A photo posted by @cammileadams on

Happy Thanksgiving from the SwimMAC Parade crew!

A photo posted by Tyler Clary (@tylerclary) on


MORE: NBC’s Thanksgiving Rio promo