Athlete
Date Inducted: 09 Oct 2014
Sport: Volleyball - Beach
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Hall Of Fame

Kerri Pottharst OAM - Volleyball - Beach

Kerri Pottharst OAM was Inducted in The Sport Australia Hall of Fame on Thursday, 9th October 2014 as an Athlete Member for her contribution to the sport of volleyball.

Potharst is inevitably linked in the public mind with Natalie Cook because of their gold medal winning partnership at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and their bronze in Atlanta in 1996.  But they earn their places in  the Sport Australia Hall of Fame as individuals because they also enjoyed significant success in other combinations.  

Pottharst in fact first earned fame as an indoor volleyballer. She represented Australia from 1982 - 1992, captained the National Team in 1992 and played professionally in Italy for one season in 1990.

A knee injury in 1992 forced her off the hard court and she began playing beach volleyball.

She partnered with Natalie Cook to  represented Australia at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 (when beach volleyball made its debut as an Olympic competition) winning a bronze medal. In the same year, they combined for a silver medal at the world championships, and won the World Tour Event in Japan.

Cook and Pottharst split afterwards, but reunited in time for the Sydney Olympics where they  dominated the competition, taking out the gold medal. In the aftermath of their Olympic win, the pair were awarded the Order of Australia and named in the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball's Team of the Decade.

Kerri Pottharst and Natalie Cook can be credited with raising beach volleyball to an elite sport in the eyes of the Australian public.

 When they re-united after their Atlanta Olympic bronze medal, their global successes in FIVB events raised huge expectations for Sydney –and they did not  disappoint, beating Brazilians Bede and Behar in straight sets in the final. 

After that Sydney success one of Australia’s best know sporting combinations split.

Pottharst briefly retired but then returned to pursue a third Olympic medal at Athens in 2004.  Pottharst, now teamed with Summer Lochowisc.

Outside the Olympics Kerri Pottharst won 8 Australian titles and a total of 92 FIVB world tour events before retiring.

She is currently president of the Australian Beach Volleyball Commission, operates a coaching business  and has worked tirelessly to promote the sport.

The record: 

Debut for Australia
1982 - Indoor Volleyball
1990 - Beach Volleyball

3 x Olympian - 1996, 2000, 2004

Volleyball Team of Decade (1990-2000)

Volleyball Hall of Fame – 2007

 

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When considering the stature of an athlete or for that matter any person, I set great store in certain qualities which I believe to be essential in addition to skill. They are that the person conducts his of her life with dignity, with integrity, courage, and perhaps most of all, with modesty. These virtues are totally compatible with pride, ambition, and competitiveness.