Kerri Walsh Jennings expects this week’s Rio Open to be her final tournament this season, but the three-time Olympic beach volleyball champion hasn’t decided if she’ll have a fifth right shoulder surgery before returning to competition as she tries to qualify for her fifth Games.
Partner April Ross will continue playing on the domestic AVP and international FIVB tours but with a different partner until Walsh Jennings returns, according to USA Volleyball. The AVP season ends in two weeks. The FIVB World Tour has tournaments into December.
Walsh Jennings, a 37-year-old mother of three, dislocated her right shoulder in matches May 27 and July 10.
She and the Olympic silver medalist Ross overcame Walsh Jennings’ injury to finish runner-up in the World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach, Calif., on Aug. 23. Walsh Jennings, with her right shoulder heavily taped, spent much of the tournament serving underhand and swinging with her left arm.
Walsh Jennings and Ross lost in the quarterfinals of this past week’s FIVB World Tour Grand Slam event in Olsztyn, Poland.
They must play at least five more tournaments after the Rio Open and before June 12 to be eligible to qualify for the Rio Olympics. The 2016 FIVB World Tour schedule has not been released, but the 2015 schedule had six tournaments before June 12.
No more than two pairs per nation can compete in an Olympic beach volleyball tournament.
*Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Walsh Jennings and Ross needed to play six more tournaments to qualify for the Rio Olympics.