UPDATED: 21 August 2008
The US has not lost a match, or a set, in 107 straight matches. No one can even fathom that number. It is like trying to understand the Universe. Billions of Stars, Hundreds of Billions of planets in our own Galaxy, hundreds of millions of life years away. And we drive 70 miles an hour on the freeway and get speeding tickets. Now add to that that these ladies are 460-18 since 2004. We are talking astronomical numbers.
These women have accomplished something nearly as difficult to realize. All the best teams in the world, from every country, out of 6 billion people, every combination of 2 women that are above average to excellent in beach volleyball in the world have tried to beat these beautiful ladies. And you know what? They can’t.
Misty says, “I am good, Kerri is good, but together we are GOLDEN!!” Misty understands the primary definition of the word “team”. It has a selfishness and pride in each other that is required to win. It is like a successful marriage where the partners understand that they are a team and it is them against the world. When you cannot take pride in your partner’s victories, when you start thinking of yourself above the team, you lose!
This article will be long. The reason? This match deserves strong coverage. It deserves nearly a point-by-point call of each event. We will also provide a video, but please, read the emotion this game sparked. Our hearts were in our throats through every point. Our effort went into every word. And these spectacular champions are as much in every emotion we express in our words as can possibly be reflected from watching this game.
The first set, in the monsoon rains, was difficult. Blocking was the most difficult aspect, because blocking a slippery ball is much harder than blocking a dry ball. The wet ball does not stick to the arms, it slides through. And that made Kerri’s job that much more difficult. Misty will block on occasion, but blocking is Kerri’s specialty, so this had to be Misty’s match.
Misty’s mother died recently and she has spread her mother’s ashes throughout the world into the sands of her games. She has also added a tattoo to her shoulder in honor of her mother. Misty has undying love and commitment. The reason she cannot be beaten is because there is no one and nothing that can beat her. Sounds like the same thing, but it isn’t. Think about it.
Kerri/Walsh were scary in the first set.
In the second set, they took an early lead 3-0. But this Chinese team was tough. There was never any doubt that anything less than a 20-0 lead was over with Tian/Wang.
Sure enough, bit by bit, the Chinese tenacious play had come back to even. How could it be? Could Kerri and Misty be wearing down. Certainly, it could happen. These Chinese are butch and strong. And they are mutants. The tallest player is only ½ inch shorter than Kerri. So this isn’t a matter of height. It is a matter of talent.
It seemed like May-Treanor-Walsh had a chance to win easily by spreading the lead to 6-3. But we already told you, these Chinese Girls have beaten the US team before. And they have the sense of searching for blood. They also have some tricks, but we will point that out later.
One thing you constantly notice about Kerri and Misty is how much they appreciate each other in the matches. They can get completely outmatched and embarrassed on a point, and still, they stand up, brush themselves off, and greet each other, even on the lost point for their incredible effort. They recognize that every point is difficult, and as a team, they earn everything, even the misses.
It is hard to understand congratulating someone for a point lost. But it is all in the knowledge that both you and your partner did your very best to not let it be a point for the other side. Neither of you let the other down. It was just a point. It happens. That makes a team, and in this case the best Olympic Beach Volleyball team in history.
The Asians needed a timeout. So Tian tends to fake injury. At this juncture, down 2, the Chinese needed to slow the momentum. This has been played before. It is cheap, and has never been played by the greats, but it does get played by the losers. It sometimes works to deflect the true winners momentum, but in reality, it is a cheap tactic. The Chinese had used a similar tactic in …
In the last set, May-Treanor leads 18-17. Tian has this forward spin to take serves. Misty bounces it up. Kerri spike, but the Chinese do not go down easy. And in the next volley, Misty cannot get the spike off and Tian gets off a mean block feeding it back in Misty’s face.
At Set Point 20-18, Misty Served. The Chinese team makes a weak return and Misty returns it for an easy placement shot in the middle of the sand.
Kerri was the most valuable player in 2004. This year it was Misty. An that shows something that all teams should take notice of. That is what a team is. Both are great. 108 matches without a defeat!!
FIRST POST, 21 August 2008, 2:00am
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh beat the #1 ranked Chinese team for Gold!!! Not just Gold, their second consecutive Olympic Gold!!! The first women’s team to ever get back-to-back Golds in the Olympics.
These ladies had to play in a torrential downpour against a very strong Chinese team and won their 108th match in a row. Think about that number. Olympic Gold is difficult, downright near impossible, but winning 108 matches in a row in World and Olympic competition? That is insane!!!!!!
We will be back with a video and a complete play by play. We will not let you, our readers down, on this. Please come back. You WILL get the absolute best coverage of this historical and super human event!!!
Misty, we love you!! Kerri, we adore you!! Just being on the same sand is an honor to any team.
GO USA!!! GO USA!!! GO USA!!!