London, Great Britain, August 7, 2012 – To be or not to be Olympic champion is the question that will be decided Wednesday as an unexpected all-American battle, USA’s Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh is pitted against compatriots Jennifer Kessy and April Ross in the gold medal match as the women‘s final curtain falls at the London 2012 Olympic Games beach volleyball competition at Horse Guards Parade in central London.
A total 24 women’s beach volleyball teams from 17 countries started playing in London onJuly 28 in the purpose-built, sold-out 15,000-seat stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parade as the majestic venue also includes a portion of adjacent St. James Park in historic central London.
Advancing from three matches in pool play, two rounds of elimination, and Tuesday’s semifinals where
USA’s third-seeded May-Treanor/Walsh overcame the heroic effort by China’s second-seeded Chen Xue/Xi Zhang in near-indentical sets, 22-20, 22-20 in 44 minutes and USA’s USA’s fourth-seeded Jennifer Kessy/April Ross who stunned Brazil’s top-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca, 15-21, 21-19 and 15-12 in 59 minutes.
USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh increased their series record against China’s Xue/Zhang to 10-5 and USA’s Kessy/Ross improved their series record against Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa to 5-18.
USA’s Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh, two-time defending Olympic Gold Medalists who have now won 20 consecutive matches in the Olympic Games without a loss and have a 40-1 set record
First up during Wednesday’s final night at Horse Guards Parade will be the bronze medal match at 7 p.m. where Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa with China’s Xue/Zhang.
Having the popular stage to themselves at Horse Guards Parade on Wednesday night as the men’s medal matches are on Thursday evening, USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh, and USA’s Kessy/Ross will begin their joust on the center court sand at 9 p.m. Wednesday.
USA vs. USA for gold medal
In a match-up between former FIVB SWATCH World Champions, USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh, who won world titles in 2003, 2005 and 2007 and USA’s Kessy/Ross, the 2009 FIVB SWATCH World Champions, this will be the 14th international meeting between the two teams with USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh holding the series edge, 11-2. With U.S. domestic events included, USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh current overall record is 27-5 against USA’s Kessy/Ross.
This will be the first time the two teams have met in an international gold medal match. The last time two USA women’s teams met in an international gold medal match was in 2009 in Phuket, Thailand when Kessy/Ross defeated compatriots Angie Akers/Tyra Turner.
In their recent meetings, USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh have won the last two, and USA’s Kessy/Ross had their most recent win on May 11, 2012 when the won in Beijing, 24-22, 24-22 in 45 minutes.
USA’s May-Treanor, 35, and Walsh, 33, have enjoyed a stellar career as a team since first playing together in 2001. They are competing in their 77th international event and have earned 63 final four appearances with 39 gold medals, 14 silvers, six bronze and three fourth place finishes.
For USA’s Kessy, 35, and Ross, 30, this is their first Olympic Games and they are in their 69th international tournament. Since teaming up in 2007, they have earned 32 final four appearances, having earned nine gold medals, 10 silver, nine bronze and three fourth place finishes.
Brazil vs. China for bronze medal
Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa, reigning FIVB SWATCH World Champions and six-time FIVB SWATCH World Tour champs and China’s Xue/Zhang, 2008 Olympic bronze medalists and current point leader on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour have met 31 times in international matches, with the Brazilians holding a 22-9 edge in the series between the two teams. The two teams have split their last six meetings with Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa winning in the gold medal match in Berlin on July 15, 2012 in two sets, 21-16, 21-18 in 39 minutes.
Brazil’s Juliana, 29, and Larissa, 30, have been a team since 2004 and this is their 106th international event. This is also their 86th final four appearance and they have earned 44 gold medals, 20 silver, 16 bronze and five fourth place finishes. Scheduled to play in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Juliana injured her knee shortly before the Games and Larissa finished fifth with Ana Paula Connelly.
China’s Xue, 23, and Zhang, 27, have become one of the top teams on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour since becoming a team in 2006 and playing every year together since then except 2009. They are also playing in their 77th international event with 42 final four finishes and have won 12 gold medals, 12 silver, 11 bronze and six fourth place finishes.
Current event information is available at www.fivb.org.
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