May-Treanor, Walsh nab third straight gold medal 

click to enlarge Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh (left) celebrate winning the gold medal after defeating April Ross and Jennifer Kessy (USA) in the women's beach volleyball gold medal match during the 2012 London Olympic Games. - CHRISTOPHER HANEWINCKEL/REUTERS
  • Christopher Hanewinckel/Reuters
  • Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh (left) celebrate winning the gold medal after defeating April Ross and Jennifer Kessy (USA) in the women's beach volleyball gold medal match during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

LONDON — The United States pair of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh won their third straight Olympic gold medal in women’s beach volleyball by beating compatriots Jennifer Kessy and April Ross 21-16, 21-16 in the final on Wednesday.

May-Treanor and Walsh took gold in Athens in 2004 and again in Beijing in 2008. No other beach volleyball team, men or women, has retained an Olympic title, let alone won a third.

At the end of the match, the two women fell to their knees face-to-face in the sand and hugged.

Then they got up, bathed in tears, and ran off in different directions to embrace family and friends and do high-fives with Olympic volunteers.

After a while, May-Treanor returned to the sand and performed a few solo dance moves, which she later described as “the shuffle.”

“It’s insane,” said Walsh, a Saratoga native and former Stanford star who had her mascara smudged from tears. “It doesn’t feel like it’s real. I told Misty when we were getting our medals, ‘If I wake up tomorrow and we have to replay this match, I’m going to be furious,’ because it feels like we’re in a dream. It truly feels surreal.”

Walsh was in tears throughout the medal ceremony, closing her eyes, throwing her head back and exhaling as she struggled to control her emotions. May-Treanor, who will now retire from competition, smiled and appeared relaxed on the podium.

Kessy and Ross, the 2009 world champions, were competing in their first Olympics.

“They are the best team of all-time,” Kessy said.

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