After failing to make the indoor volleyball team for the 2016 Olympics, Alix Klineman decided she would switch her sport to beach volleyball. She explained, “I looked at the beach as a new opportunity and a chance to chase my dreams without anybody having to give me approval or put me on a roster.”
The decision has paid off: At her first-ever Olympics in Tokyo, the Jewish athlete took home gold with partner April Ross.
Seeded second in the beach volleyball tournament, the team defeated an Australia duo 21-15, 21-16. Klineman and Ross dropped only one set in the entire tournament.
“I still don’t know if I really ever expected this to come true,” said Klineman. “It feels like such a fairy tale.”
Klineman, a 31-year-old California native who attended Stanford University, was inducted into the Southern California Jewish Hall of Fame in 2015.