Olympic Beach Volleyball 2012: Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Are Must-See

Luke PetkacFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2012

The one problem with the Olympics is that you can never quite get around to seeing everything you want to. There are so many exciting events and sports to follow, that you'll inevitably forget to tune into one or two of them. There's nothing to be done. But make sure you don't forget to watch Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh play beach volleyball. It's the one event that absolutely should not be missed under any circumstance.

There are tons of reasons to watch Walsh and May-Treanor play beach volleyball, so many that I couldn't possibly list them all. But the one overriding reason to watch them is simple. They're the greatest beach volleyball team ever-and everybody already knows it.

Think about that. That never happens. After the 1998 NBA Finals, basketball fans looked at Michael Jordan and collectively said, “That man is the greatest basketball player ever.” Fans did the same for Michael Phelps when he left Beijing with eight gold medals. The difference is that Jordan retired after the '98 Finals and Phelps, though still great, isn't the dominant force he was in 2008. Walsh and May-Treanor are already the greatest team ever and they're still near their peak.

Just watch one of their matches. It's honestly startling how much better they are than the opposing team. It sounds strange, but it's true. It looks like they're playing a different game. They know where each other is at all times and somehow seem to get every ball, no matter how difficult. Even when the opposing team scores or gets a lead, it never seems to faze the two of them. It's almost as if they think that the outcome of the match is inevitable. Regardless of the score or deficit, the two of them will eventually win.

There are moments in these matches that can't be experienced in any other. Like when the two lost their first set against Austria a few days ago (the first set they've ever lost in Olympic play) and instead of folding, outscored the Austrians 36-18 the rest of the way. Or when they beat the seventh-seeded Italian team so badly that 21-year-old Marta Menegatti was reduced to tears.

Even the way they celebrate points is different from their opponents. Their first-round match was against the Australian team of Natalie Cook and Tamsin Hinchley. Every point the Australians scored was accentuated with huge smiles and hugs. It was as if even they couldn't believe they had scored. Conversely, Walsh and May-Treanor were all business after points. Some nods, maybe a fist pump, and then it was back to the game. The tone was set. One team celebrated points, the other expected them. They could have called the match right then.

There are a lot of great Olympic events. But there is only one “greatest team ever” playing in London. I'd make sure to watch them.