Misty May and Kerri Walsh captured Olympic gold, while Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs secured the bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens.
Things dont get much more dominating than the display Misty May and Kerri Walsh put on at the 2004 Summer Olympics beach volleyball competition in Athens, Greece.
The consensus top team in the world not only won the gold medal, but did so by going a perfect 7-0 and not losing a single game along the way.
May and Walsh, who earlier in the year had accumulated a 15-tournament, 90-match winning streak, were joined on the medal stand by fellow Americans Holly McPeak (playing in her record third Olympic beach competition) and Elaine Youngs, who secured the bronze medal after rebounding from their 17th loss in 20 career meetings with their country compatriots in the semifinals.
The double podium finish kept the U.S. beach medal streak intact. While this was the first time U.S. women had medaled in the Olympics, the U.S. men had done so in the previous two competitions with Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes winning gold and Mike Dodd and Mike Whitmarsh winning silver in 1996. Eric Fonoimoana and Dain Blanton won a gold medal in 2000.
I dont know what I am supposed to say? Sing a song? laughed May. These medals represent how much hard work and dedication Kerri and I have put in. This is going to show players thateven on our tour back homeit doesnt take tall players, it doesnt take fast players to play this sport. Anybody can play itit just depends how much you want it.
May also quickly put to rest all doubters concerning her lingering stomach muscle injury which sidelined her on and off for the better part of two months prior to the Olympics.
I knew Misty would be back, said Walsh. Misty alleviated all my fears when she told me shed be back and she told me how hard shed work. She stayed true to her word. Misty and I just work well together. We just fit. Weve been through so many ups and downs together and weve had fun through it all and weve maintained our friendship and our balance. I think that goes into our winning ways.
May and Walsh downed Brazil’s Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede 21-17, 21-11 in just 43 minutes for the gold medal. The victory was May and Walsh’s 11th straight over the 2000 silver medalists. Adriana and Shelda hold the most victories over May and Walsh (7-14 record all-time).
Since forming their partnership in 2001, May and Walsh have gone 179-27 internationally with 15 titles and have a 75-3 mark on the AVP circuit with 13 titles.
I am very happy despite losing to the Americans, said Adriana, the all-time winningest international female player with 32 victories. We have played together for nine years and have worked very hard. It was a different feeling for us this time compared to Sydney since the Americans were the favorites here.
McPeak, the all-time winningest women’s professional beach volleyball player with 72 victories, and Youngs downed Australia’s Natalie Cook and Nicole Sanderson 21-18, 15-21, 15-9 to win the bronze medal. Cook, a 2000 gold medalist, was attempting to win her third Olympic medal and played with an injured shoulder throughout the tournament.
McPeak and Youngs, 6-1 in the tournament, roared back after a 21-18, 21-15 semifinal loss to May and Walsh.
I am thrilled and almost speechless, said McPeak, who teamed up in 1996 with Nancy Reno and in 2000 with May, finishing fifth both times. Obviously, my feeling is different this time. We accomplished almost everything we wanted. Our goal was the gold, but well take the bronze since we lost to the best team in the world. To be able to end up on the podium at the Olympic Games, it was a dream come true. Elaine and I did it together.
Youngs was competing in her second Olympic Games. She was a member of the 1996 U.S. indoor team.
In the last three years, Holly and I have been working so hard to get to where we are today, said Youngs. We would have loved the gold medal, but I dont care at this point. Were on the podium. Kerri and Misty were by far the best team. They have been all year and deserve the gold medal. Im just elated and Im really happy for Holly. It was emotional being up there and seeing the two U.S. flags.