It started in 2001. It won gold in 2004. It nearly broke up in 2006. It has won 108 straight matches. It has not lost in 2008. And Thursday afternoon in Beijing it won back-to-back golds.
It is the winning machine of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh.
Misty and Kerri are the faces of women's volleyball in America and two of the most recognizable names in all of American sport.
On Thursday afternoon, in the monsoon-like rains of China, they became legendary.
The two faced off against the top seeded Chinese team of Tian and Wang for the gold medal match in women's beach volleyball. Looking to finish their incredible run of 107 consecutive matches won, May-Treanor and Walsh battled the last team that beat them.
And to make the match even more fun, Mother Nature joined in with constant rainfall that made the ball slicker and the match more unpredictable.
However, neither Mother Nature nor the Chinese best beach volleyball team could hold down the best in the world.
In a back-and-forth first set that saw neither team with more than a three-point lead, May-Treanor and Walsh eventually pulled out the 21-18 win.
In set two the American duo did the same thing again, never letting unlucky bounces or unforced errors ruin their run. It ended with a Walsh kill and the Americans were gold medalists, again...21-18, 21-18.
They celebrated just as they did four years prior when they won their first Olympic gold medal in Athens—running around, hugging one another playfully, dancing around in the sand like a child would on his first trip to the beach.
They became the first team, men's or women's, not only to reach the gold medal round in back-to-back Olympics, but to win it as well.
It was their 18th straight tournament victory.
It was their No. 1 all-time record 96th team win.
It was their 108 consecutive match victory.
It was simply magical.
When NBC analyst and former beach volleyball great Karch Kiraly was asked if they were the best he responded, "Yes, there is no one else. They have beaten everyone."
You can't analyze that any more. With this victory May-Treanor and Walsh vaulted themselves from great to legendary.
Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, the Redeem Team, not even Team USA Women's Softball team have done what these two have done.
In a post-game interview, amongst their child-like celebrating, Walsh and May-Treanor confirmed the rumors that they are now going to be focusing on starting families and volleyball will take a back seat. But neither one said anything about not returning for London 2012.
If they do decide to return and if they could possibly repeat again, then the team would go down in Olympic history as one of the greatest teams ever to compete in the Olympic Games.
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh: untouched, unbeaten, unbelievably two-time Olympic gold medalists.
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