USA Beach Volleyball 2012: Previewing the All-American Gold Medal Match

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USA Beach Volleyball 2012: Previewing the All-American Gold Medal Match
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

If Team USA can claim dominance in any sport right now it's Women's Beach Volleyball. In tonight's gold medal match, one American team (April Ross and Jennifer Kessy) will play the undisputed greatest team ever, the American duo of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh. 

Get your popcorn ready, this is going to be a great match.

May-Treanor and Walsh have to be considered the favorites coming into this matchup. They have dominated so far in the Games and beat one of the early favorites in Chinese duo Chen Xue and Xi Zhang in the semifinals.

Their opponents also favor the two-time gold medalists. Many were worried that May-Treanor and Walsh were too far past their primes to win a gold medal, but their counterparts in the gold medal match are roughly the same age. 

Ross is 30 and Kessy is 35 compared to Walsh who is 33 and May-Treanor who is 35. Neither team has a major youth advantage here. 

Don't discount Ross and Kessy. They stunned No. 1 seed Brazil in the semifinals and have been great in their first Olympics. The opportunity to take down such a decorated duo should make them hungrier than ever for an upset.

Don't take that upset over Brazil lightly. They were heavy favorites at the beginning of this tournament and beating them means these two can hang with anybody. 

Something else Ross and Kessy have to their advantage: pressure. They weren't expected to make it this far; the world would be shocked if May-Treanor and Walsh didn't. It's almost as if Ross and Kessy will be playing against their opponents while May-Traenor and Walsh are playing against history.

As we've seen throughout the sports world, that's never a good sign. Even the best teams struggle when facing such tremendous pressure.

Ultimately though, it's impossible to bet against May-Treanor and Walsh. They have simply been too good for too long. Michael Phelps has already given us one legend going out on top, and the greatest beach volleyball duo of all time should give us two more. 

Before May-Treanor and Walsh, no beach volleyball duo had ever won consecutive gold medals. Even if they only get the silver tonight, they will be the first team to win three medals, period.

The point is we are seeing something historic when these two play. Enjoy that as they play their final match. 

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