Women's Olympic Games, Athens GREECE
From 14 August To 24 August 2004

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Aussies & Brazilians Seek Spot opposite United States Women
Athens, Greece, August 23, 2004 - Two things are for sure entering tonight's "final four" Beach Volleyball matches at the Athens 2004 Games - there will be repeat finalist from the Sydney 2000 title contest and the United States will have a team playing for the Olympic gold medal for the first-time.

The first semi-final at 7 p.m. here Monday features fifth-seeded Natalie Cook and Nicole Sanderson of Australia challenging second-seeded Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede of Brazil for the first berth in Wednesday's gold medal finale.

The second semi is an All-American affair at 8 p.m. as top-seeded Misty May and Kerri Walsh play fourth-seeded Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs. The match will be the 20th all-time meeting between the two teams with May and Walsh winning 16 times.

Kerri Pottharst and Cook won the Sydney 2000 Olympic gold medal by defeating Adriana and Shelda before their Australian fans on Bondi Beach. Cook is also seeking her third Olympic Beach Volleyball medal as she and Pottharst also captured the bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

In three Summer Games now, Cook has compiled a 13-2 match record for the most wins by any men's and women's Beach Volleyball Olympian. She won eighth-straight matches during the Olympics to rank behind Pottharst's streak of nine. Pottharst teamed with Summer Lochowicz this time around as the pair won their Athens pool before being eliminated in the first-round by Cook and Sanderson.

The American women have never finished higher than fourth in the two previous Olympic Beach Volleyball competitions at Atlanta and Sydney. The only three-time Beach Volleyball Olympian for the United States, McPeak fifth-place finishes in both Summer Games were with two different partners (Nancy Reno in 1996 and May in 2000).

While McPeak was placing fifth in the first two Olympic Beach Volleyball events in 1996 and 2000, the United States had a chance for a bronze in Atlanta and missed the opportunity as Barbra Fontana and Linda Hanley dropped the third-place match.

Cook and Pottharst were 3-0 against the Americans in Atlanta as the Aussies also defeated Gail Castro and Deb Richardson before eliminating McPeak and Reno. Castro and Richardson placed ninth as the United States had three entries due to being the host country.

While May and McPeak were placing fifth in Sydney by losing 16-14 to Adriana Samuel and Sandra Pires, the United States' second team of Annette Davis and Jenny Johnson Jordan also finished fifth after losing to a team from Japan.

The men's Olympic semi-finals will also be played Monday. The women's medal matches are Tuesday and the men's gold and bronze matches are set for Wednesday evening at the 10,000-seat Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre.

For more Beach Volleyball news visit www.fivb.org