USC Alumna April Ross Captures Beach Volleyball Gold Medal For USA At Tokyo Olympics
TOKYO – Three-time USC All-American April Ross won the beach volleyball gold medal with Team USA partner Alix Klineman at Shiokaze Park in Tokyo Bay on Friday, August 6. It was the third Olympic medal for Ross who now owns three medals, one of each color.
Ross-Klineman completed their run at the Olympic Games with a 7-0 record and topped it off with a straight-set victory (21-15, 21-16) over Australia's Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy.
One of the world's most devastating servers on the sand, Ross collected four aces from behind the end line and had nine kills with eight digs. Klineman scored on 10 kills, with three aces and two blocks.
Ross's victory ties her for second-most Olympic women's beach volleyball medals won (Misty May Treanor). Kerri Walsh Jennings holds the record with four total medals (2004, '08, '12, '16). Ross won bronze at the 2016 Rio Games with Walsh Jennings and claimed silver at the 2012 London Games with Jennifer Kessy. It also marked the fourth time in the last five Olympic Games that the U.S. has won women's beach volleyball gold.
In the bronze-medal match, three-time USC beach All-American Tina Graudina and partner Anastasija Kravcenoka fell to Switzerland's pair of Joana Heidrich and Anouk Vergé-Dépré in straight sets, 21-19, 21-15, to finish fourth in the final standings. The Latvian duo of Graudina-Kravcenoka was the first-ever women's beach volleyball pair to qualify for the Olympics and was coach by USC assistant Gustavo Rocha.
USC Olympians have now won seven medals at the Tokyo Games including two gold, three silver, and two bronze.
The USC beach volleyball team captured the program's fourth national championship (third NCAA crown) with a win over crosstown rival UCLA in the NCAA Championship dual. Under second-year head coach Dain Blanton, USC went 30-4 and had winning streaks of 13 and 12 matches during the season. The Trojans finished as the Pac-12 runner-up and produced the league's Pair of the Year in Tina Graudina and Megan Kraft. Graudina was also named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Kraft was the conference's Freshman of the Year. Both were named first-team AVCA All-Americans and were joined on the first team by Julia Scoles and Sammy Slater.
For more information on the USC beach volleyball team, a complete schedule, and results, please visit USCTrojans.com/beach. Fans of the Women of Troy can follow the team on Instagram and on Twitter @USCBeach.