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Jen Kessy is a beach volleyball player competing at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for the USA.

Beach volleyball veteran Jen Kessy makes her Olympic debut in London with longtime partner April Ross. After playing with a number of partners for six years, Kessy picked up Ross prior to the 2007 season with their primary objective being to qualify for the 2008 Olympics. The duo was in contention for the second U.S. women's berth (behind Olympic champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings), but was eliminated in the second-to-last qualifying event one month before the Beijing Games, as the spot went to Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs. Kessy and Ross easily qualified for the London Games, and will be the No. 4 overall seed.

Despite missing the 2008 Olympics, Kessy and Ross finished second in the world rankings that year, and have placed in the top four every season since (2009 – 3rd; 2010 – 4th; 2011 – 4th). They've won nine career tournaments on the FIVB World Tour, and 12 in the U.S. Kessy and Ross's 2009 season was their finest. They won a career-best three FIVB tournaments, including the 2009 World Championships, and appeared in the final of seven of the 12 international events they played. On the domestic AVP Tour, Kessy and Ross appeared in the final at 10 of their 12 tournaments, winning five titles. They won five FIVB medals in 2010 (two gold), seven FIVB medals in 2011 (one gold), and leading up to London in 2012 they won one bronze medal in seven events.

Kessy and Ross appeared in the gold-medal match of their last three tournaments on the 2008 FIVB World Tour and their first two of 2009, giving them the top seed for the 2009 World Championships in Stavanger, Norway. Yet, they were not the favorites. The top two Brazilian squads were absent from the season-ending events in 2008, and each team beat Kessy and Ross in those early 2009 finals. The true favorites were Juliana Silva and Larissa Franca, who met Kessy and Ross in the world championship final. But the Americans proved worthy of the No. 1 seed, defeating Larissa and Juliana in straight sets (30-28, 23-21). Kessy and Ross became the second U.S. women's team to win a world title, after May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings won in 2003, '05 and '07. Kessy and Ross placed 37th at their Worlds debut in 2007, and fifth at the 2011 Worlds, where they were knocked out by May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings in the quarterfinals.

Kessy's first title at an elite tournament came with Ross in June 2007, when the duo was seeded 29th at the Stavanger Grand Slam. It was just their second international event together, and the week before in Paris, they didn't even get into the tournament's main draw. But in Stavanger, they won three qualifying matches to get into the main draw, then lost their first two pool matches, but topped a Greek pair to advance to the single-elimination rounds. They didn't lose the rest of the way, beating third-seeded Chinese pair Tian Jia and Wang Jie in the final, a duo that went on to win silver at the 2008 Olympics. Kessy and Ross were the lowest seed ever to win a Grand Slam. One year later in Stavanger, they won bronze, and in 2009 they won their first world title at the same site. Making a gold medal an every odd year occurrence, Kessy and Ross won again in 2011. Stavanger hands out arguably the most popular souvenir on tour to the event's winners: Viking swords.

Kessy joined an elite group in July 2010, when a ninth-place finish in Stavanger, put her over the $1 million mark in career earnings. She became the sixth American woman to earn millionaire status, and through 2011, Kessy had earned $1,210,035 since her first event in 2000. In August 2009, Kessy and Ross placed second at the AVP Chicago Open, earning $26,500 to put them over the $1 million mark as a team, just the third U.S. pair to do so. Through 2011, they had earned $1,710,600 in worldwide winnings since joining in 2007, an amount that ranks second all-time among American women's teams.

Kessy and Ross were both raised in Orange County, Calif., and were ecstatic to win the 2010 AVP Huntington Beach Open, their first title in Orange County. Kessy went to Dana Hills High School in Dana Point, Calif., where she participated in volleyball and swimming. She earned a scholarship to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, 60 miles north of her hometown. Kessy played volleyball all four years at USC, was named an All-American in 1998, an All-PAC 10 selection from 1995-1998, and was a member of the indoor U.S. Junior National team. After graduating with a history degree in 2000, Kessy began entering AVP and FIVB events, but she played professionally indoors for the Chicago Thunder in 2002 and in Puerto Rico in 2003.

Born in San Clemente, Calif., Kessy's athletic endeavors began with gymnastics as a young girl. She also took up softball and enjoyed being a pitcher, and was a defender in soccer. When she first asked her mom if she could play volleyball, she was told no because she had too much going on. Her mom finally relented, and after Kessy's first practice, she gave up her other sports because she was hooked on volleyball. She began riding her bike to Capistrano Beach everyday during the summer to play pick-up games, sometimes on a court next to professionals like Karch Kiraly and Adam Johnson.


How tall is Jen Kessy? How old is Jen Kessy? Where does Jen Kessy live? Find out here.

Age: 39 years old
Birthday: July 30, 1977
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 170 lbs.
Birthplace: San Clemente, CA
Hometown: San Juan Capistrano, CA
Current Residence: San Clemente, CA

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