Raising an Olympian: Kerri Walsh-Jennings

Charlene Prince Birkeland, Team Mom

When US beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh-Jennings sets foot in the sand, she's playing to win. It's just one of many life lessons instilled in her by mom, who inspires Walsh-Jennings every day -- on and off the volleyball court.

"My mom, to me, is a force of nature," says Walsh-Jennings in the Procter & Gamble original video series, "Raising an Olympian." "I take her with me when I go play. I want her heart. I want her tenacity, and I want her commitment to win at all cost. And I think I have that."

Photos: Kerri Walsh goes for gold

The 33-year-old athlete and mom of two has two gold medals in beach volleyball with her partner, Misty May-Treanor, from wins during the 2004 Athens Games and 2008 Beijing Games. Right now, she's living and breathing gold as she eyes the 2012 London Games. And Walsh-Jennings firmly believes it's because of her mom. "I don't think I'd be an Olympian without my mom. Her toughness is in her relentlessness," she says in the video, wiping tears from her eyes.

Walsh-Jennings' mom, Margie Walsh, says that she raised her daughter to believe in herself and to always challenge herself: "We just never wanted her to settle," she says. "You play to win."

Off the sand and raising her own young children, Walsh-Jennings wants to channel everything she's learned from her mom. "If I could be the mother my mom is to me, I'd be a wonderful, amazing mother. I want to be a lioness for my kids. I have a good role model, so I've got a good start."

The "Raising an Olympian" video series, sponsored by Procter & Gamble, will run through the London Games and profiles athletes, their dedicated efforts to make it to Olympic games, and the mothers who had tremendous impacts on their lives. Check out Team Mom on Yahoo! Shine all summer for additional "Raising an Olympian" segments.

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