U.S. Olympian beach volleyball player Jennifer Kessy, 35, and her partner April Ross, who have been playing together since 2007 and are often talked about in the same breath as iconic American beach volleyball legends Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, won their match against Netherlands’ Marleen van Iersel and Sanne Keizer on Tuesday night in a 21-15, 12-21, 15-8 victory.

For Kessy, who always wanted to play volleyball, the beach was the fitting location for her small frame. “Beach volleyball as opposed to indoor volleyball for me was that I was too small, really,” Kessy told Uinterview in our exclusive interview.

“The way the national team was picking their athletes at the time was: Can you reach this high? How high can you jump? How tall are you?” Kessy said. “It wasn’t necessarily about your skills, and that’s what I need them to look at. I need them not to look at how tall I am or how high I jump. You need to look at the intangibles that I give. And my college coach always told me that I was better suited for beach volleyball, and I guess he was right.”

Kessy has also tried her hand at other sports. “I actually did swim in high school, it’s kind of on a whim that I decided to try out for the swim team. It was the opposite season of the volleyball season and I said, ‘I think I’ll try out.'” It didn’t take Kessy long, however, to figure out that swimming was not the way to go. “I didn’t like the 4:00 in the morning practices, and my hair was green. It just wasn’t for me, but it was definitely a good reprieve from volleyball.”

For more on the 2012 London Olympic Summer Games:

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympic Water Polo Captain Betsey Armstrong Talks Returning To Olympics

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Nathan Adrian: ‘It’s And Honor’ To Swim Team USA

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympics Swimmer Brendan Hansen

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympics Swimmer Brendan Hansen Lost His Olympic Gold Medal

Brendan Hansen To Make Waves At Third Olympics

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympic Diver Cassidy Krug Describes The Perfect Dive

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympic Volleyball Player Lindsey Berg Is ‘Honored’ To Be Named Captain

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympian Nick McCrory Talks Diving With David Boudia

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympic Diver Kristian Ipsen Is ‘Not Wearing Much’

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympian Phil Dalhausser’s ‘Late Start’ At Beach Volleyball

EXCLUSIVE: Olympian Jessica Hardy Swims 2.5 Hours Every Morning

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