U.S. beach stars win third straight gold

Updated Aug. 8, 2012 at 6:33 PM
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LONDON, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Americans Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings ended another stunning Olympic run Wednesday with their third straight gold medal in beach volleyball.

After surviving a difficult series of matches in group play and a close call in the semifinals, May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings enjoyed a relatively easy victory in the finals over fellow-Americans April Ross and Jennifer Kessy.

It was a 21-16, 21-16 decision and it left them with three of the five gold medals that have been awarded in the sport since it became a part of the Olympic program at the Atlanta Games in 1996.

May-Treanor, 35, and Walsh Jennings 33, have played together in 21 Olympic matches during their careers. They have won them all and in the process dropped only a single set.

They had to battle back in the opening set of the semifinals on Tuesday against the Chinese team of Xue Chen and Zhang Xi but ultimately prevailed 22-20, 22-20.

The first set of Wednesday's match was tied at 13-13 before May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings began to pull away. In the second set the eventual winners won three points in a row to take an 18-14 lead.

In the bronze medal match, Brazilians Larissa Franca and Juliana Silva rallied from a one-sided setback in the first set to defeat Xue and Zhang for third place.

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