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Volleyball courts may have been empty during the pandemic, but it’s finally time to kick up some sand. Brooke Sweat is bringing her “A” game to beach volleyball in the Tokyo Olympics.
“Our focus is to win and that’s what we’re determined to do,” said Sweat.
Sweat has her eyes on the prize with her teammate Kerri Walsh Jennings. She says after a brief chat over the phone, the two paired up in 2018.
“At the end of the conversation she was like, so what are your plans? Are you coming back? I was like, I don’t know I might be done. And she was like, well I’m looking for a partner so if you want to play, I’d love to get in the sand with you and try it out. I was like, OK!,” said Sweat.
It’s a good thing they paired up as the new duo is heating up the sand. The team got through the training challenges of the pandemic, the one year delay of the Olympics and Sweat’s knee surgery last June.
“If the Olympics would have happened last year, I wouldn’t have been able to play. So it was a blessing in disguise for me and our team. We’re just taking it as it comes and we’re just excited that we’ve had chances to compete and that the Olympics are still going to happen, although a little bit different this year,” said Sweat.
Sweat is also connected to the beach volleyball courts of the Sunshine State as she grew up on the west coast of Florida.
“I was born and raised in Fort Myers, Florida. I absolutely love it there. I went to school at Florida Gulf Coast University so that was basically in my backyard. I played a ton of events all over Florida when I was first getting started in beach volleyball and then I had to make a decision if this was something I really wanted to do or if I was just going to play on the weekends for fun,” said Sweat.
The 35-year-old took the plunge and began her professional career in 2007. This will be the defender’s second Olympics and even though she didn’t earn a medal in Rio, she says she has grown as an athlete since 2016.
“You don’t always get a second chance, so I’m really excited to get there and just play better volleyball this time around,” said Sweat.
And she’s proud of bringing her roots to Tokyo.
“For me I’m excited to represent Florida. I love where I came from, I love my roots so I’m excited to get out there and just be a little Florida girl out there doing my thing,” said Sweat.