Olympic beach volleyball champion to end five-year international retirement

Kira Walkenhorst

German Kira Walkenhorst, a 2016 Olympic beach volleyball champion, will compete internationally for the first time in five years, receiving a wild card into August’s European Championships in Munich.

Walkenhorst, who won Rio Olympic gold with Laura Ludwig, quit the sport in January 2019 due to injuries. Six months later, she reportedly said she was pain-free.

Previously, hip and rib injuries and six shoulder operations left her unable to pick up her triplets when wife Maria gave birth in 2018.

Walkenhorst, 31, returned to domestic competition in Germany, playing seven tournaments so far since 2020.

Walkenhorst is paired with Louisa Lippmann for Europeans.

Her Olympic champion partner, Laura Ludwig, played at the Tokyo Games with Maggie Kozuch, reaching the quarterfinals.

Ludwig, 36, gave birth to her second child last month.

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