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The United States' Kerri Walsh Jennings is one of the greatest beach volleyball players the sport has ever seen. And with her on the verge of a fourth Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro, we should look back on how the 37-year-old from Santa Clara, California, has become a slayer of the sand.

1996: After leading her high school, Archbishop Mitty, to three straight state championships, Walsh was named Gatorade National High School Volleyball Player of the Year. During her time in high school, she competed against Misty May-Treanor, who'd eventually become her storied Olympic teammate.

1996-2000: Walsh's collegiate career at Stanford saw her become only the second volleyball player in NCAA history to be a first-team all-American all four years of school. She was the co-National Player of the Year in 1999.

2000: Walsh encountered major adversity right at the start of her professional career, playing on the women's indoor team at the Sydney Olympics when she missed some games due to a false-positive drug test. After she was retested, Walsh was cleared of the inaccurate test and helped the team to a fourth-place finish.

Kerri Walsh at the 2000 OlympicsSource: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Kerri Walsh at the 2000 Olympics  Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

2001: Walsh began her partnership with May-Treanor, beginning what would become the greatest duo in beach volleyball history. They finished that year fifth in the Association of Volleyball Professionals Tour.

Walsh's headshot in 2001Source: Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Walsh's headshot in 2001  Jamie Squire/Getty Images

2002: Walsh and May-Treanor became the top-ranked team on the AVP Tour for the first time in their careers.

Walsh and Misty May in 2002Source: GERT EGGENBERGER/AP
Walsh and Misty May in 2002  GERT EGGENBERGER/AP

2003: Walsh and May-Treanor won a record 90 straight matches and each of the eight tournaments they entered during the year, including a world championship.

Walsh and May celebrate in 2003Source: ANTONIO SCORZA/Getty Images
Walsh and May celebrate in 2003  ANTONIO SCORZA/Getty Images

2004: Walsh and May-Treanor won their first Olympic goal medal in Athens without dropping a set.

Kerri Walsh in 2004Source: Michael Buckner/Getty Images
Kerri Walsh in 2004  Michael Buckner/Getty Images

2008: Walsh and May-Treanor went on to repeat as Olympic champions in Beijing, again winning gold without losing any set. They extended their unbeaten winning streak to 108 matches.

May-Treanor (left) and Walsh in 2008Source: Peter Kramer/AP
May-Treanor (left) and Walsh in 2008  Peter Kramer/AP

2012: Walsh and May-Treanor did lose their first set at an Olympic games in London but went on to win a third consecutive gold medal. It would be Walsh's last competition with May-Treanor as her partner. May-Treanor retired from the sport shortly after.

Walsh in 2012Source: David Becker/Getty Images
Walsh in 2012  David Becker/Getty Images

2013: Walsh, with new partner April Ross, broke the career record for most wins by a female volleyball player by winning the FIVB Grand Slam for her 113th title. The win, ironically, broke her former partner May-Treanor's career-win record of 112. 

Walsh at the World Series of Beach Volleyball in 2013Source: Jae C. Hong/AP
Walsh at the World Series of Beach Volleyball in 2013  Jae C. Hong/AP

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