Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings swept fellow Americans in two sets on Wednesday to earn their third straight gold medal in women's beach volleyball. They talk about the intense match, how it felt to be facing another American team, and the emotional medal ceremony.
The USA win at beach volleyball Wednesday night at the London Olympics marked the end of a legacy, but not of the enduring friendship between Misty May-Treanor and partner Kerri Walsh Jennings. Still, when the pair stood on the podium to accept the gold together, they knew it was for the last time. May-Treanor, who has played with Walsh Jennings for over a decade, will be retiring.
It was the third time May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings stood side-by-side to accept gold. The win in London wraps up a Olympic career that has led to a perfect record of 21 wins and no losses, with the pair losing only one set in all of their Olympic competitions. “We played the toughest competition in the world and we’ve withstood every challenge to be hanging out on top,” Walsh Jennings told TODAY's Matt Lauer.
Even though Wednesday was the last time the world will see the two spike on the sand, their partnership is far from over. May-Treanor, who said she's ready for her next journey, said that “I will never leave [Walsh Jennings’] side." She called her time in London "emotional," but added, "I think we learn so much about everything outside of volleyball. That’s what this Olympics signified. It was the journey off the court together, and it’s something we’re never going to forget and we’re going to be in each other’s lives forever.”
American beach volleyball fans were assured of gold and silver wins last night when two American teams competed for the top prize. Silver medal winners April Ross and Jen Kessy talk about the intense match and reveal whether they'll be heading to Rio in four years.
Walsh Jennings said of May-Treanor, “I think the world knows that she is the most genuine, amazing woman in the entire world. One in a billion.”
The pair have been known for their closeness, which translates to some serious throw-down in competition. “You wanna build momentum and you kind of want to crush the spirit of your competitors,” Walsh Jennings said, detailing a tense moment in the competition Wednesday night.
The pair, who beat fellow Americans Jennifer Kessy and April Ross 21-16, 21-16, said that it isn’t easy to go against members of your team. But according to May-Treanor, the “best way to represent USA beach volleyball is to have a gold medal match USA versus USA. They help elevate our game because they are such wonderful players.”
The two best friends revealed a little detail about their pre-game ritual, which starts with Walsh Jennings clearing all sharp edges out of the room. Then May-Treanor's break-dance music comes on, to which she does the eggbeater. “I should probably wear a helmet,” May-Treanor joked.
May-Treanor's husband, Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Matt Treanor, could not attend the game but watched it on his laptop. He spoke to reporters about his wife and her partner, saying, “For them to go back and do this, you can’t say enough about the two of them. They’ve adapted their game, they became better in terms of communication and stuff like that, and the old ladies went out and did it.”
“Kerri might kill him for saying ‘old ladies,'” May-Treanor warned, but Walsh Jennings just smiled and said, “This dream is not possible without our husbands and our family and our loved ones."
Or, apparently, the eggbeater.