Five-Time Olympic Volleyball Player Kerri Walsh Jennings Fails to Qualify for Tokyo Games

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Kerri Walsh Jennings and partner Brooke Sweat will not be heading to the Tokyo Olympic Games later this summer.

On Wednesday, 42-year-old volleyball star Jennings and Sweat, 35, lost during a tournament in the Czech Republic, which will now prevent them from competing in Tokyo. It would have been Walsh Jennings' sixth Olympic Games, the Associated Press reported.

"It's a terrible, terrible feeling," Walsh Jennings said after the match, per the outlet. "It's been a really rough year, and to lose in a qualifier, it feels really hard right now."

The pair needed to finish third or better to overtake fellow athletes Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil for the second and final spot on the U.S. team, NBC Sports reported.

"Not this time," Walsh Jennings added, per the AP. "It's a really hard day for us, so I think we'll feel the pain."

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Courtesy NBC Olympics Beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings (left) and her partner, Brooke Sweat

Walsh Jennings previously won Olympic gold medals in Athens, Beijing and London with Misty May-Treanor and silver in Rio de Janeiro with April Ross, according to the AP.

The athlete also competed at the Sydney Games back in 2000 on the U.S. indoor team.

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Claes, 25, and Sponcil, 24, will join Ross, 38, and Alix Klineman, 31, as the two pairs heading to the Games. Claes and Sponcil will become the youngest U.S. Olympic beach volleyball team in history, per NBC Sports.

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Back in December 2018, ahead of the postponement of the Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Walsh Jennings told PEOPLE that she was "working my tushie off" to train daily for the Summer Olympics.

"My goal is to qualify for the 2020 games in beach volleyball and to win it with my new partner Brooke Sweat," she said at the time. "We have a lot of work to do, but I believe that we're kind of laying the foundation brick by brick with a lot of love, a lot of hard work, a lot of eyes on the prize. It's going to be fun."