Hamburg, Germany, May 31, 2016 – USA’s Emily Day is set for a date with destiny come the Smart Major Hamburg, the final event before the Olympic rankings for qualification to Rio 2016 are decided.
Day, along with London 2012 Olympic silver medallist and partner Jen Kessy, are the third highest ranked US duo in the Provisional Olympic Ranking and is keen to put on a good performance at the tournament to give her Olympic credentials a big boost just two months out from the Games.
“It’s tough, because the ultimate goal is to go to the Olympics and win a medal,” Day said. “So there’s pressure, but it’s weird, because when you’re on the court and you’re playing, you’re not thinking Olympics. You’re not thinking, ‘If I win this, I get this.’ You’re just taking it point by point.”
Day and Kessy first joined forces almost exactly a year ago at the 2015 Moscow Grand Slam and have recorded 12 top ten finishes since, including bronze at the Antalya Open last year.
“We’ve been playing a lot better every tournament,” Day said. “We have the potential for it, so I’m confident.”
Following London 2012 Kessy took time off to become a mother while Day continued to play on the World Tour, joining forces with young up-and-comer Summer Ross for the majority of 2013 and 2014.
But once the 28-year-old heard Kessy wanted another run at the Olympics, plans were made.
“The beach volleyball world is pretty small,” Day said. “You look at somebody who can complement you as a partner, who has the same goals and dedication as you. … She took time off to have a baby, and I knew she was going to come back, but I didn’t know she wanted to go to the Olympics again. As soon as I heard that, there were phone calls being made.
“It’s the lifelong dream, and it’s not just going,” Day said. “It’s going and getting the medal. It’s high, high expectations.”
And whilst Day is not without her own experience, she says lining up alongside a former world champion has been vital in their own road to Rio.
“Her knowledge is invaluable,” Day said. “It’s just from silly stuff like, ‘Your parents are going to go to the P&G House, and we’re going to play every other day.’ I’m like, ‘Whoa!’ There’s so much just from the on-court stuff. The fact that she’s been there and competed in the gold-medal match is awesome.”