When the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team won their first Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games, Jordan Larson was the one to score the winning point. When her kill made contact with the court, Larson collapsed to the floor in pure joy and was embraced by her teammates. Larson, who has been team captain since 2017, had finally achieved her dream of being an Olympic gold medalist. The U.S. women swept Brazil, who had never lost an Olympic final before, 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-14). Larson’s incredible performance, including being named both Olympic Most Valuable Player and best outside hitter of this historic team, is why she is this year’s WSF Team Sportswoman of the Year Award winner.
Larson is one of the premier all-around players in her sport. She has an exceptionally high IQ on the court which has easily earned the respect of teammates and competitors alike. The past year has been especially momentous for Larson, adding gold medals and championship titles to her impressive list of accolades. With the inaugural season of the Athlete Unlimited volleyball league in February of 2021, Larson was finally able to play professionally in the United States for the first time. Larson was not only the first player to sign with the new league, she was the inaugural season’s champion after earning 4,569 points over the five-week-long season. In June, Larson won her first gold medal of the year in the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Nations League finals. The U.S. women’s team beat the Brazilian squad 3-1 (26–28, 25–23, 25–23, 25–21) to claim the gold. And just a few months earlier, in 2020, Larson became one of the youngest members to be inducted into the University of Nebraska Hall of Fame. While she was a Husker, Larson won a national championship in 2006, and in 2008 she became the first woman in Big 12 history to be named the league’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.
Now a three-time Olympian, winning silver and bronze medals in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, Larson has played professionally in Puerto Rico, Russia, Turkey, China and the United States. To sustain her on this inspiring journey, she treasures every challenge along the way and proudly wears the “Play For Kae” tattoo on her left wrist in memory of her mom, who lost her fight to breast cancer in 2009.