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Why Losing Makes Kerri Walsh Jennings an Even Better Olympian

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Beach volleyball was hands down one of the most anticipated Olympic events as three-time time gold medal winner Kerri Walsh Jennings defended her gold. She arrived in Rio with new partner April Ross (Misty May-Treanor, who won alongside Walsh the past three Olympics, retired) and ready to dominate once again. But last night, the qualifying rounds to go on and play for the gold didn't exactly go Walsh's way.

With scores of 22-20, 21-18—Walsh Jennings and Ross lost both sets to Brazil's Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas. Walsh Jennings and Ross will go on to play for the bronze but the heartbreak of last night's outcome was evident. Even so, Walsh Jennings is still shining bright and proving to the world that winning isn't everything. When it comes to strength, it's your attitude through the highs and lows that makes you a star.

Walsh Jennings wasn't afraid to take responsibility for her part. When asked to summarize her performance after the game, she told USA Today that it was "rocky" and went on to explain why. "You've got to pass the ball to win matches. I don't even know how many aces [Brazil] got—four per game, maybe, on me? That's unacceptable and inexcusable." And she was open about her weaknesses: "It's because I wasn't passing the ball. I wasn't passing the ball. If you see a weakness, you go after it. My weakness was I wasn't passing the ball . . . Tonight they rose to the occasion. I certainly did not, and there's no excuse for it."

The truth is, every athlete is human and subject to an off day. It's part of life. But it's how you handle it that makes all the difference. We're proud of the way Walsh Jennings is handling her disappointment in not receiving her fourth gold medal, and we'll be rooting for Walsh Jennings and Ross tonight.

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