When Alix Klineman didn’t make the volleyball team for the 2016 Rio Olympics, she vowed to find another way to become an Olympian. So, after nearly a decade of playing — and excelling — at indoor volleyball, she made the transition to beach volleyball. Now, with partner April Ross, Alix is ranked number 2 in the world — and ready to go for gold in Tokyo during the 2020 Summer Olympics (which, yes, are taking place in the summer of 2021).
Here are 18 things to know about 31-year-old American Jewish volleyball player Alix Klineman.
1. Alix was born in Torrance, California, to Jewish parents Mike and Kathie Klineman. She and her siblings, Max and Maddie, were raised in Manhattan Beach, California.
2. Alix was born December 30, 1989, making her a Capricorn. Fun fact: She skipped first grade.
3. Manhattan Beach is a beach volleyball hub. One summer, her parents were dropping her brother off at camp and brought Alix along. The organizers told her parents: “OK, we’re ready for her.” The Klinemans replied: “No, no, she’s only 6.” (She was very tall for her age.) Yet, Alix stayed at the camp — and thrived.
4. She started her career in indoor volleyball, helping her high school, Mira Costa High School, win three state titles. Alix was named the Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the year for 2006-07.
5. After graduating high school, she enrolled in Stanford University, where she played indoor volleyball. Alix was named an NCAA All-American four times. She graduated in 2011 with a degree in art studio.
6. In 2016, she didn’t make the U.S. Olympic Volleyball Team for the Rio Olympics. So, she started reassessing her career: “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,” Alix said. “The biggest thing was pursuing the Olympics and getting a new shot at that.”
7. Unlike indoor, beach volleyball is entirely dependent on results, not a coach’s decision. “Nobody can stop me. Nobody can say, ‘Sorry, you didn’t make this roster,’” Alix said. “That really appealed to me.”
8. She met her now-partner, April Ross, at the Stagecoach country music festival in 2017. They played their first tournament together in January 2018.
9. “I could tell she had a little ways to go skill-wise, but it was evident to me that she would make a good transition to the beach,” Ross said. “She wouldn’t be where she is right now, though, if she didn’t work as hard as she does. I think she outworks almost everybody.”
10. Alix is 6 foot 5 inches. Which, yes, is very tall.
11. Alix is engaged to Teddy Purcell, a former hockey player who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Los Angeles Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning, Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers.
12. Alix and Teddy have a very cute dog named Vedder:
Okay, one more…
13. In 2015, these were the top songs on her iPod (we miss iPods):
- “Rainbows” by Jack Johnson and G. Love
- “Piece of Me” by Britney Spears
- “Wreckless Love” by Alicia Keys
- “Foundations” by Kate Nash
- “Astair” by Matt Costa
- “Desert Sunrise” by Brett Dennen
- “G.O.D. (Gaining One’s Definition)” by Common
- “Pour Down the Sunshine” by Bob Marley
- “Put Some Time” by Natural Vibrations
- “Shy That Way” by Tristan Prettyman
- “Serious Times” by Gyptian
Quite the mix of songs!!
14. And in 2015, her favorite TV shows were “America’s Next Top Model,” “Lakers,” (we assume she meant watching basketball?) and “Gossip Girl.” And favorite movies: “Blow,” “The Godfather,” “Almost Famous,” and “City of God.”
15. Alix is a night person and her favorite season is summer. (She does play beach volleyball, a very summer sport…)
16. If not for volleyball, “realistically” she’d play basketball. “Ideally,” it’d be tennis.
17. She loves posting recipes on the gram. Here’s her granola recipe:
18. While the Tokyo Games will be Alix’s first Olympics, it’ll be April Ross’s third time. In 2012, she won silver at the London Games; in 2016, she won bronze. Alix and April are ranked #2 in the world, and this year, they’ll be going for gold.
Bonus! We made a custom Alix Klineman trading card just for you: