In the beginning, there was a good degree of huffing and puffing about how the sport's main appeal was the fact that its women competed in skimpy bikinis. But fans have come to appreciate the reckless athleticism of beach volleyball, and its profile in the USA has been raised by its dominating women's team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh (now Walsh-Jennings).
As Kerri Walsh puts it (from ESPN):
The reality is it's really an athletic, beautiful sport. The uniform should attract people. What brings them back is the physicality and the beauty of the sport.
Age has started to catch up with 34-year-old May-Treanor and 33-year-old Walsh. They lost the World Championship in 2011 and now find themselves ranked third in the world.
With one more chance to go for gold, here's a look back at Walsh and May-Treanor's beach volleyball dominance over the last decade.