Jennifer Kessy was born in 1977 in California, and played a variety of sports growing up. After high school, she attended the University of Southern California, where she played volleyball all four years. In 2000, she began her professional beach volleyball career, and in 2002, she played indoor professionally, both in the United States and Puerto Rico. Over the next several years, she concentrated on beach volleyball and became one of the most successful players on the planet. In 2012, she and partner April Ross made their first Olympic appearance at the Summer Games in London. The pair made it to the finals round, where they lost to fellow Americans Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings, 2-0 (21-16, 21-16), taking the Olympic silver medal in beach volleyball.
Jennifer Kessy was raised in Southern California and proved to be a natural athlete growing up. She attended the University of Southern California, where she majored in history and played volleyball all four years (1995–1998). She earned All-PAC 10 selection every year she played and was named All-American in 1998. A member of the U.S. Junior National Team, Kessy went on to play indoor volleyball professionally for the Chicago Thunder in 2002 and in Puerto Rico in 2003, but her focus soon turned to beach volleyball full-time.
In 2004, Kessy began playing beach volleyball with Barbra Fontana, a former Olympian, and the pair's success helped Kessy attain a top-10 ranking and win the Most Improved Player award. In 2005, Kessy paired up with Holly McPeak, a three-time Olympian, and they reached the semifinals in 11 of 13 events in which they played, and made it to two championship matches. They ended the season as the third-ranked team on the AVP Tour.
In 2007, Kessy landed a new partnership, April Ross, and the new duo beat Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings, only the third defeat handed out on the AVP tour to the storied pair before the semifinals. Over the next five years, Kessy and Ross found far-reaching success, medaling in events all over the world, climbing the rankings, and propelling Kessy over the $1 million earnings mark—only the eighth woman in the sport to do so.
2012 Summer Olympics
When the London games came calling in 2012, Kessy and Ross made their first Olympic appearance, beating Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolokova of the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals to reach the final four. They went on to beat Brazilian players Juliana Silva and Larissa Franca and advanced to the gold medal game, but lost to fellow Americans Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings, 2-0 (21-16, 21-16), taking the Olympic silver medal in beach volleyball.
According to TeamUSA.org, following the game, Kessy called May-Treanor and Walsh-Jennings "the best team of all time," and said she wasn't incredibly disappointed about losing the gold. "It doesn't feel too bad to be second to them," Kessy said.
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