Oft bikini-clad beach volleyball stars Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor are, both literally and figuratively, two of America’s hottest athletes at the 2012 Olympics going on now in London, but it turns out they’re not invincible.
The duo rolled to a gold medal in Athens and again in Beijing without dropping so much as one set in Olympic play, but that streak ended when the Americans lost the first set of their preliminary round match against Austria on Wednesday night. After the 21-17 loss in the first, they came back to win the second by a dominating 21-8 and took the third 15-10 to remain unbeaten — through three straight Olympiads.
Despite coming back for the win, Walsh wasn’t pleased to see the winning streak come to an end.
“I was furious,” Walsh Jennings told the Associated Press afterward. “It’s still with me. I want to go to the practice court and fix it.”
The Austrian team of sisters Stefanie and Doris Schwaiger led 19-14 but Walsh and May-Treanor brought it back to 20-17 before falling. The loss of a set doesn’t effect anything as far as the American’s prospects for winning yet another gold medal, as they still won their pool and advanced to the knockout round as a No. 1 seed.
The single-elimination round will certainly be a high-pressure experience for the Americans as now the rest of the field knows that they can be beat — at least in a set.
“Now it’s a whole new tournament,” May-Treanor said.
Bleacher Report reports that the pair has been playing together since winning the FIVB championship in 2002. They followed that up with a 39-0 season the following year and never looked back.
May-Treanor, who is 35, is retiring after this Olympics meaning Walsh will need to find a new partner and start a new win streak. But first things first, the dynamic duo have a goal of winning another gold, and not dropping another game, set or match along the way.