Elaine Youngs, aka “EY,” has been a contender on the professional beach scene since she made her debut in 1997. Born in 1970, she’s approaching retirement age for many pro athletes, but she shows no signs of slowing down.
2009 marked the 11th consecutive year in which Youngs won a domestic title, making her the new record-holder. The all-time mark was previously held by Janice Harrer (10 in a row). Youngs played the 2008 season, including the Beijing Olympics, with Nicole Branagh, and the duo finished 5th in their first Olypmic showing together. Although they failed to medal, the Youngs-Branagh team had a great year on the AVP tour. They advanced to the semifinals in 11 of 12 events and made it to six finals; two of those six finals went their way, and Youngs-Branagh finished as the third-ranked team on the Tour.
Before pairing up with Branagh midway through the 2006 season, EY spent time as partner to Rachel Wacholder (who helped her become the third woman to pass the $1 million earnings mark on the AVP), Holly McPeak (this pair brought home the first ever beach volleyball medal for the US from Athens) and Liz Masakayan.
Prior to her stellar beach career, Youngs played on the Indoor National Team for three years as well as professionally in both Rome, Italy and Ankara, Turkey.
With her most recent partner Nicole Branagh agreeing to partner with Misty May-Traenor for the 2010 season, we can look forward to watching EY write the next chapter in her long career with a new partner.
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