Southern Olympians to Watch: Florida's Korda Sisters Are Both Aiming for Gold in Tokyo
It’s a sister act for Team USA Golf.
Sister acts aren't entirely uncommon at the Olympics. Serena and Venus Williams teamed up to win doubles gold three times at Sydney, Beijing, and London. Soccer player Shannon Boxx also has three gold medals, while her older sister Gillian won gold for Team USA in softball in 1996.
But Olympic golf doesn't have a team competition so when Nelly and Jessica Korda of Bradenton, Florida tee it up in Tokyo, it will be sister vs. sister in the quest for Olympic gold. But that's par for the course, they've been competing against each other for the past five years on the LPGA Tour and bringing home plenty of hardware back to Florida.
Nelly, 22, just claimed her first major championship in June, and third win of the year at the Women's PGA Championship outside of Atlanta. For good measure, she also moved to #1 in the world rankings.
Older sister Jessica, 28, has won six times on the LPGA Tour and finished tied for 19th in her major championship debut at the 2008 U.S. Women's Open. She was 15 years old at the time.
It really shouldn't come as any surprise the Korda sisters are so athletically gifted. After all, winning runs in the family. Their dad Petr was a world-class tennis player on the ATP Tour for 12 years, achieving a career high #2 world ranking, winning 10 tournaments including his lone Grand Slam title at the 1998 Australian Open. Although Petr never competed for his native Czechoslovakia in the Olympics, his wife Regina did, at the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul.
This will be the first Olympics for both sisters as they make up half of the Team USA golf squad along with Danielle Kang and Lexi Thompson. Thompson also competed in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
Whatever the outcome in Tokyo, there won't be any sibling rivalry or jealousy between Jessica and Nelly. The sisters feed off of each other's success and it only serves as inspiration to strive for greater heights on the course. It's a strategy which has served them well, and also inspired their youngest brother Sebastian, a rising tennis star who just claimed his first ATP title in May at the age of 20.
Perhaps in 2024 all three of them can represent the U.S. at the Paris Olympics, but for now Jessica and Nelly are just going to enjoy the moment.
"It's cool," said Jessica in a recent press conference. "I never dreamed of being an Olympian because I thought golf would never be there. My mom played, dad never did, so it's something pretty cool."
When your last name is Korda, it seems winning just comes naturally.