Skip to main content

Olympic Tradition

Jul 15, 2016

With two former players competing in 2020's Tokyo Olympics, the Stanford program now boasts 10 Olympians who have made a total of 21 appearances in the Summer Games. At least one former Cardinal player has appeared on each indoor U.S. Olympic roster since 1988, when Kim Oden '86 became Stanford's first volleyball Olympian.

In 1992, Oden returned to the Team USA roster and helped the squad to a bronze medal in Barcelona. Her sister, Bev Oden '93, joined Kristin Klein '92 on the 1996 team in Atlanta, while former Cardinal players Nancy Reno '88 and Barbra Fontana '87 both made appearances on the beach that year. Fontana and partner Linda Hanley took fourth, while Reno and partner Holly McPeak placed fifth.

At the 2000 Sydney Games, Kerri Walsh '00 and Logan Tom '03 both made their inaugural Olympic appearances as members of the indoor team and helped the squad to a fourth-place finish. Then just 19 and preparing for her sophomore year at Stanford, Tom became the youngest player to ever make a U.S. Olympic roster.

Walsh made the move to the beach for the 2004 Games in Athens and claimed the first U.S. gold medal in the history of the sport with partner Misty May-Treanor. Also in 2004, Tom returned to the indoor roster and another young player from The Farm, Ogonna Nnamani '05, followed in Tom's footsteps and became just the second collegian to make a U.S. Olympic women's volleyball team.

At the 2008 Games in Beijing, Tom and Nnamani both made repeat appearances on the indoor squad, while Walsh returned to the beach. Indoors, Tom and Nnamani led Team USA to a 6-2 record, helping the team pull off a pair stunning upsets of No. 2 Italy and No. 3 Cuba to advance to its first gold medal match in 24 years. The squad fell to Brazil to take the silver, capturing just its third all-time medal in women's indoor volleyball. Walsh and May-Treanor made a dominant run through the women's beach tournament to become the first beach team, men or women, to defend a gold medal. The pair never lost a set in seven matches and defeated the top-seeded Chinese team in front of its home crowd to claim the gold.

In London in 2012, Tom made her fourth appearance on the indoor team and was joined by first-time Olympian Foluke Akinradewo '09. Walsh and May-Treanor were in pursuit of their third straight gold medal. The indoor team finished 7-1, falling in the finals to Brazil for the second consecutive Olympic Games. Still searching for the elusive gold medal, the U.S. indoor team has won three silver medals (1984, 2008, 2012) and two bronze (1992, 2016).

Walsh and May-Treanor made history in London, becoming the first beach volleyball team of either gender to take home three gold medals after they defeated their American counterparts in the finals. Seeded third, the pair finished the tournament with a 7-0 record. Arguably the greatest beach team in the history of the sport, Walsh and May-Treanor were 21-0 in Olympic matches going back to Athens and 42-1 in Olympic sets.

In Rio in 2016, Akinradewo again represented the Cardinal on the indoor team, helping lead the United States to its second bronze medal. Walsh made her fifth straight Olympics appearance and captured bronze with partner April Ross. Walsh now has three gold medals and one bronze in beach volleyball.

Akinradewo completed her medal collection at the 2020 Tokyo Games as she helped lead the United States to gold for the first time. She is now the most-decorated Olympian from Stanford in the sport of indoor women's volleyball. 

Alix Klineman '11 made her Olympic debut on the beach at the Tokyo Games, becoming the fourth Cardinal indoor player to transition to the sand on the world's highest stage. Klineman formed the A-Team with Ross, Walsh's partner from 2016, and the pair won the United States' fourth gold medal in beach volleyball - all four have included a Cardinal alumna.

Indoor Olympians

Name Years
Kim Oden 1988, 1992
Kristin Klein 1996
Bev Oden 1996
Logan Tom 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012
Kerri Walsh 2000
Ogonna Nnamani 2004, 2008
Foluke Akinradewo 2012, 2016, 2020


Beach Olympians

Name Years
Barbra Fontana 1996
Alix Klineman 2020
Nancy Reno 1996
Kerri Walsh 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016