Kerri Walsh-Jennings and Misty May-Treanor take Gold
If there ever was an Olympic sport that is quintessentially American in its genus it is Beach Volleyball. It is a sport that I love to watch, especially women’s competitions. My wife Judy says that the sport is sexist because the men wear more clothing than the women, not that she doesn’t mind watching the men as much as I enjoy watching the women, but I digress…
The sport began in Southern California about 1915 and has become a staple in the United States as well as around the world. As it is played today in professional and international amateur competitions it is played just two players as opposed to regular volleyball which is played by 6 player teams. Unlike volleyball beach volleyball has no substitution so players must play the entire match.
Since 2004 the women’s competition, especially in the Olympics have been dominated by an American team composed of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh have dominated the sport. They were undefeated in any Olympic set or match until this year when they lost one set to the Austrian sisters Stephanie and Doris Schwaiger in the competition. Other than that set they are undefeated in every match and 42 sets. They are as close to perfect in a sport as any team in history.
An Amazing Team
They had played together as a team since 2001 defeated the other American team in the women’s competition Jennifer Kessy and April Ross who had defeated the number one ranked team of the 2012 season, the Brazilians Larissa Franca and Julianna Felisberta-Silva in order to reach the final.
The future: Jennifer Kessy and April Walsh
Their Olympic dominance began in Athens in 2004 and they repeated the feat in Beijing in 2008. Their journey was beset by injury and interrupted at times by the responsibilities of marriage and family. In London they dominated even as the competition reached higher levels of excellence.
As the flags were raised at Horse Guards Parade under the shadows of Parliament the two American teams, four women knit together by shared skill, teamwork and determination stood together singing the Star Spangled Banner. They were joined by thousands in the stands, and as they sang Kerri Walsh cried as she sang.
Triumphant and Emotional
The Olympic championship in London culminates the incredible careers of Misty May and Kerry. They have left a legacy that will be hard for others to match. Jennifer Kessy and April Walsh are the new team to beat and the competition will be intense when they go for Gold in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.