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Defending champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh of the United States captured the Beijing Olympic beach volleyball gold medal on Thursday.
The American pair defeated China's Tian Jia and Wang Jie 21-17 and 21-18, and the Chinese duo got the silver medals.
The two sides traded points in the first set to 17-17 before the U.S. duo reap four points in a row to win the first set 21-17.
In the second set, the Americans led at the beginning while the Chinese came from behind and traded points for a tit-for-tat battle. After the visitors reach the match point 20-18, a dink spike by the U.S. duo finished the gold medal match.
Tian Jia and Wang Jie of China comfort each other after losing to American duo Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 21, 2008. [Xinhua]
"It was such a tough match, their serves were so strong. But we wanted to win and we won the match," said Walsh after the match.
Without losing a single set, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh of the United States, dubbed as "queens of the beach," breezed into the beach volleyball final at the Beijing Olympics. And the American duo have not been defeated in a single match since last August.
The three-time Olympian May-Treanor said before the Olympics that experiences are their advantage and they will use them to gain the upper hand over their rivals in Beijing. "Experience in beach volleyball comes into play in those big matches where fatigue sets in." said May-Treanor.
The combination of the pair is another factor which has contributed to their outstanding results. Men's beach volleyball legend and three-time Olympic champion of the United States Karch Kiraly also prized the partnership of May-Treanor and Walsh "the best ever".
Strong psychology is another significant weapon for the U.S. duo to perform well. "I will pretend that the crowd was cheering for us," May-Treanor said of the audience's support in the final for the Chinese team before the match began.
Misty May-Treanor (L) of US spikes during the women's gold medal match against Wang Jie and Tian Jia of China at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games beach volleyball event in Beijing, China, Aug. 21, 2008. Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor of US won the match 2-0 and got the gold medal. [Xinhua]
"I'm excited to win the silver medal. We did our best in the match, and I think we played very well. I'm proud to present such a wonderful match in front of the large audience," said Wang.
"I hope beach volleyball will have a faster development in China through our success at the Beijing Games." she added.
Tian and Wang said before the match began that their rivals were "very strong" both in experiences and techniques and they just wanted to do their best in the final match.
In an earlier match, China's Zhang Xi and Xue Chen captured the bronze medal, defeating Brazilian pair Talita Antunes/Renata Ribeiro in straight sets.
(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2008)