Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh Jennings
[SPOILER ALERT: The following story reveals the outcome of Wednesday's beach volleyball final.]
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings got their golden ending.
The most successful beach volleyball team of all time cemented their legacy by winning their third straight Olympic gold Wednesday, defeating fellow Americans Jennifer Kessy and April Ross, 21-16, 21-16.
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With the victory, May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings are the first beach volleyball players to win three Olympic medals of any color and will end their 11-year partnership — May-Treanor's retiring — undefeated at the Olympics, going 21-0.
Earlier, Brazil's Juliana and Larissa beat China's Xue Chen and Zhang Xi, 11-21, 21-19, 15-12, for the bronze.
May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings did not take nearly as long racing to gold. The match lasted 35 minutes and was played at a relentless pace with blocks galore and few rallies. They fell behind early in the first set, 1-3, before breaking back and easily pulling away with the set.
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The prolific pair had never even lost a set in Olympic play until dropping one against Austria last Wednesday in a preliminary round, stopping their streak at 32.
May-Treanor and Walsh's domination wasn't exclusive to the Olympics. At one point in 2008, they won 112 straight matches and 19 straight tournaments, including in the Beijing Olympics. Before that successful defense, no beach volleyball player had ever won two golds.
The sand queens haven't been unbeatable in recent years, taking breaks for May-Treanor's Achilles injury (suffered on Dancing with the Stars) and Walsh Jennings' two pregnancies. But they said they were determined to go out on top after May-Treanor decided she would retire.
Do you think Misty and Kerri are the greatest beach volleyball team of all time?