Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
12 years and three Olympic appearances later, Tokyo may be Jordan Larson's last rodeo for the national team
0 Comments
topical top story
TOKYO OLYMPICS

12 years and three Olympic appearances later, Tokyo may be Jordan Larson's last rodeo for the national team

  • Updated
  • 0

Former Husker Jordan Larson appears in this episode of "Athletes Unlimited."

For 12 years Jordan Larson has played for the United States national volleyball team.

Now, Larson is on the ground in Tokyo, about to play in her third Olympics, a remarkable accomplishment for the three-time college All-American while playing for Nebraska from 2005-08.

Maybe this will be the final time she represents her country at the highest level, capping an international career that includes winning a world championship in 2014, the Olympic silver medal in 2012 and an Olympic bronze medal in 2016. But that’s only “maybe” she’ll be done.

The 34-year-old Larson has signed a contract to play professionally in China next fall. She also plans to play in the Athletes Unlimited pro league in the United States next winter.

Will the next two weeks be the final time Larson plays for Team USA?

“I think so,” Larson said. “I make fun of one of my teammates because she’s like, ‘I’m going to retire.’ And that was after the Beijing Olympics. I don’t know. I don’t want to put all of my eggs in that basket because who knows what the future holds. I feel like I’m actually in the best shape that I’ve been in a while. Physically I feel like I put in great work in the weight room. I feel good.”

The Americans’ first match is Saturday against Argentina. The medal matches are Aug. 7.

Larson appreciates each time she’s got to play for the U.S.

“It’s been amazing,” she said. “I can’t believe I’ve been doing it for this long. Sometimes it feels like this is my first time. I still feel like that girl making my first junior national team. And here I am 12 years in. I’m just really grateful to be a part of it for so long and represent our country for this long.”

Larson traveled to Tokyo last weekend feeling both anxious and excited about the Olympics.

The Olympics were delayed from 2020 to this summer due to COVID-19. Larson is one of three former Huskers playing for team USA, including second-time Olympian Kelsey Robinson and Olympic rookie Justine Wong-Orantes.

The U.S. team includes four Olympic veterans and eight newcomers, so the 12-month delay may end up being a benefit.

“I’m feeling very good,” Larson said. “I think if you would have asked me last year about this time I don’t know if we were ready as a team culturally. There were some new players, and there was a lot of unknowns. There was just a lot of uncertainty and I think that we have put in a lot of work off the court.”

Now Larson feels good about the communication and culture of the team.

“Now I feel like we’re all pulling from the same end of the rope,” she said.

The U.S. enters the tournament ranked No. 1 in the FIVB world rankings, followed by No. 2 China and No. 3 Brazil. China won the gold medal at the 2016 Games.

The Americans won the FIVB Volleyball Nations League last month, which was the only major tournament held leading up to the Olympics. The Americans had a 16-1 record in the tournament.

That victory makes the U.S. a contender to win, but not every team played its top players in that tournament.

“I think it was a great competition for us as far as getting competition reps,” Larson said.

Before starring for the Huskers, Larson played high school sports for Logan View in Hooper. Her dad, Kevin, lives in Hooper where he farms and teaches part-time at the community college in West Point.

Kevin attended the previous two Olympics, but won’t be able to go this time due to fan restrictions.

“I think he was sad. He wanted to experience it,” Larson said. “I think he’s had a great time at the other two.”

Earlier this year Larson was thrilled to be able to play professionally in the United States for the first time, after a decade of playing for pro clubs in Russia, Turkey and China.

Larson is currently the focus of a docuseries that followed her playing in the U.S. pro league and preparing for the Olympics.

This fly-on-the-wall documentary follows Larson journey through the Athletes Unlimited season to her victory as the first volleyball champion. The first of several episodes was released on Thursday and is available on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook channels, as well as through the Athletes Unlimited Twitter account.

Former Nebraska volleyball player Jordan Larson hopes time off will benefit her for 2021 Olympics
USA volleyball wins third straight VNL title; Wong-Orantes named tourney's top libero

The centerpiece: The stories that have highlighted the Journal Star's sports sections in July

The big headline. The big photo. The centerpiece. We've collected the stories that have stood out the most this month. 

topical
  • Updated
  • 0

Make no mistake, every game is important this fall. But the lid-lifter in Champaign feels "even more important than any other year."

topical
  • Updated
  • 0

Here are a few things to watch for as Nebraska coach Scott Frost and players Ben Stille, Deontai Williams, and Austin Allen get ready for Indy.

topical top story
  • Updated
  • 0

What is the goal for today? For the year? For five years down the road? It's all right in front of Nebraska's highest-ranked recruit. Literally.

editor's pick
  • Updated
  • 0

She says Lincoln hosting the event is weird. In a good way. "I have family here and it’s awesome to see my friends come and watch too.”

editor's pick topical alert top story
  • Updated
  • 0

In town to light the torch at the Cornhusker State Games, Alex Gordon gives a glimpse into into retired life. Yes, he misses baseball "a little bit."

topical alert top story
  • Updated
  • 0

Last year's opening ceremonies were virtual due to COVID-19. This time, a welcomed return of normalcy — "We are very happy with what is going on."

editor's pick topical alert
  • Updated
  • 0

Trev Alberts never gave athletic administration any thought. Not while in college. Not while working on TV. But that changed in 2009.

editor's pick topical
  • Updated
  • 0

Alberts takes over Nebraska Athletics during an important stretch: "We have to be the hardest working athletic department in the country."

editor's pick topical alert featured
  • Updated
  • 0

An agreement was sealed by handshakes Tuesday night. Contracts were signed Wednesday morning. Then, a news conference.  

editor's pick topical
  • Updated
  • 0

The Nebraska shortstop and pitcher was taken by the Atlanta Braves Monday in the second round of the Major League Baseball Draft.

editor's pick topical
  • Updated
  • 0

The Nebraska baseball team made a huge splash in the Big Ten this season, and on the recruiting trail the last two years.

topical
  • Updated
  • 0

Nebraska's Spencer Schwellenbach could be selected as a pitcher or as a position player in the MLB Draft, which starts Sunday.

editor's pick topical top story
  • Updated
  • 0

A reader points out that a certain columnist gets "worked up" when Husker fans show Fred Hoiberg more grace than they show Scott Frost.

topical
  • Updated
  • 0

In back-to-back groups the six players have combined to win 11 major championship on the regular professional tour, in addition to numerous other majors on the Champions Tour.

topical
  • Updated
  • 0

It started with pen and paper. It will end with memories and see-you-laters.

editor's pick
  • Updated
  • 0

Shandon Reitzell was primed for a big meet.

  • Updated
  • 0

An indoor-outdoor national championship sweep was a huge accomplishment for Concordia pole vaulter Josie Puelz, but she thinks there's more to come.

topical top story
  • Updated
  • 0

Adi Kunalic would have loved to have the opportunity in his playing days that Nebraska's college athletes have in front of them now. 

topical
  • Updated
  • 0

On the first day student-athletes could begin making money on their name, image, and likeness, several Nebraska athletes took advantage of the…

editor's pick topical
  • Updated
  • 0

“It means everything to all of us, our fans, our administration and our players," said Mississippi State coach Chris Lemonis after the Bulldogs' 9-0 clinching win Wednesday over Vanderbilt.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7435 or bwagner@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsWagner.

0 Comments
0
0
0
0
0

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Husker volleyball/women's basketball reporter

Brent has worked at the Journal Star for 14 years. His beats include Nebraska volleyball, women's basketball and high school soccer and cross country.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News

Husker News