A-Team Wins Gold! April Ross and Alix Klineman Defeat Australia in Women's Beach Volleyball Final
The A-team has captured gold!
On Friday at Shiokaze Park in Tokyo, April Ross and Alix Klineman defeated Australia's Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar 2-0 (21-15, 21-16) to finish first in the women's beach volleyball tournament.
Ross, 39, who was competing in her third consecutive Summer Games, finally won a gold medal after winning bronze at the 2016 Rio Games with Kerri Walsh Jennings and silver at the 2012 London Games with Jennifer Kessy. The California native is only one of four players in her sport to have ever won multiple medals at the Olympics.
Meanwhile, Klineman, 31, won her first Olympic medal in her Games debut after spending decades playing indoor volleyball.
Ross and Klineman's win marks the fourth time the U.S. has won gold in women's beach volleyball and the seventh medal overall.
After many partners, including teammate Lauren Fendrick, Ross linked up with Klineman in 2017.
"I was lucky enough to eventually get paired up with April and since then it's been just a crazy wild ride in the best way possible," Klineman told PEOPLE in 2019. "Because she's so experienced and I really believe that such a huge part of why I've gotten better is because of her."
Opening up about what being an Olympian means to her, Klineman shared: "The Olympics is what really drove my move to the beach since I saw an opportunity and so it's the No. 1 thing in my mind. It's just been a dream of mine for so long and April's already been there obviously. She's a little extra motivated to help me get there for the first time too."
Ross recently told PEOPLE about how she strengthened her game during the year-long postponement of the Olympics due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I created a gym in my garage because obviously you can't go to a public gym or anything and worked out really hard every day, got really strong," she explained. "My partner [Klineman] took some time to get healthy, heal her injuries. And I spent a lot of time with my family, filled my emotional cup."
On Friday, after their win, Klineman told PEOPLE during a press conference about the moment they put the gold medals around each other's necks.
"It was awesome being able to award each other the medal. I know how hard April has been working and she knows that I've been [too]. It was such a special moment for us to be on the podium together, giving each other that medal. We wanted this so bad, we dreamed of this and we worked so hard for this and it was just an amazing moment," Klineman said.
Speaking about earning a boxed set, a medal in every color, Ross told PEOPLE during the press conference that "it just seems so surreal to me."
"I like still don't know how to answer that question because it just seems so surreal to me and I just know that — I was so proud of every other medal. It wasn't like I felt like I had to get back to the Olympics to avenge anything. I was so happy with those experiences and thought I had it in me to go for another one," she said.
Ross continued, "Then I found Alex and we started doing well. She started getting so much better and then it kind of materialized like, 'Oh maybe we have a shot at a gold medal in the Olympics,' and then everybody wants to know like, 'Are you looking to complete your set?' Like, of course, I want a gold medal but without Alix and all the hard work that she put into our team, I don't know if it was possible and so I'm just elated and so grateful that it worked out."
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.