Despite the fact she has pinkeye, U.S. beach volleyball Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings has consistently been dominating her opponents in London. She and her teammate Misty May-Treanor won the gold medal in 2004 and 2008 and are so far undefeated in 2012 after matches against Australia, the Czech Republic, and Austria. Still, will her infection be the downfall of the team?
Not according to Walsh Jennings.
"It's super minor," she told the Associated Press on Tuesday. "It just looks worse than it is." According to Walsh, her husband , fellow volleyball player Casey Jennings, has a much worse case of the disease.
However, it may be that Wash Jennings' infection has started to affect her play. The duo remained undefeated in all of their sets until Wednesday, when the pair lost the first set in a match against Austria 21-17. Volleyball takes the best of two sets, however, and the U.S. team was able to best Austria in the other two sets for the win.
Worried that it might hamper her performance, Walsh Jennings is doing everything she can to get rid of the infection before the Olympics end. But her doctor insists that it may continue through the Aug. 8 volleyball finals. And the strict anti-doping measures in Olympic Village aren't helping.
"I'm doing everything I can do that's legal under drug-testing, which is scary," she said. "I've never taken anything, but if I can't see I'm in trouble."
Her infection is also interfering with her performances in another, smaller way. Normally, one shakes hands with opposing athletes, but Walsh has had to forgo the tradition in order to prevent the infection from spreading.
"That's a big deal here," she said. "I really respect these girls and my whole thing is to give high-fives. That's normal for me. I don't want them to think I'm big-leaguing them or being a jerk. I didn't want to infect them. I just didn't want to leave any room for error."
Eric Brown is an IBTimes reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.