Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross captured bronze in Wednesday’s women’s beach volleyball tournament just one night after a disappointing loss in their quest for the gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
The American athletes beat out Brazil’s top-seeded Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes, but not without a fight.
“I have a newfound respect for the bronze medal match because we were devastated the night before,” Walsh Jennings told Today‘s Matt Lauer on Thursday of winning after a defeat in the gold medal match.
“Literally devastated. We didn’t sleep a wink and we had 24 hours to come to grips with what just happened and to fight for a chance at redemption, at vindication at anything and we did it”
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Brazil took the lead in the first set but Walsh Jennings and Ross fought hard after a time out and took the second and third, winning the match 17-21, 21-17, 15-9, NBC reports.
Both pairs embraced after the match; Walsh Jennings and Ross in victory, and Antunes and Franca in defeat.
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“There’s no shame in a bronze medal and I used to think that and I’m so ashamed of thinking that because there is so much joy and hard work and love in it,” Walsh Jennings said. “That’s like my ego talking and that’s just ignorance to me. It’s a terrible way to frame things because it’s like we won this. We didn’t lose, we won this.”
The Olympic medal is Walsh Jenning’s fourth, securing her a place in history as the oldest female winner in the history of the Olympic sport, according to NBC.
The victory came just one day after a shocking upset by Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas.