What's buzzing:

Fourth-Place Medal

Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh Jennings win third straight Olympic beach volleyball gold in all-U.S. final

Fourth-Place Medal

LONDON — Kerri Walsh Jennings dropped to her knees in the sand of Horse Guards Parade. Misty May-Treanor ran around with her arms outstretched until she circled back to hug her teammate of 11 years.

This was the end. But the end was golden.

In two straights sets against American rivals Jennifer Kessey and April Ross, May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings, the most successful women's Olympic volleyball team of all time, captured their third consecutive gold medal, in their last match together.

[ Elite Athlete Workout: Kerri Walsh's Olympic workout ]

May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings finish 21-0 in Olympic play, having lost only one set to an opponent. May-Treanor, 35, said before the London Games that this would be her last run in competitive volleyball, as she retires from the sport.

"I'm really proud of finishing the journey with Misty the way we finished it," said Walsh, tearing up while wearing her gold medal before turning to May-Treanor.

"I'm glad you went out the way you deserved to."

May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings defeated Ross and Kessy in two sets, 21-16 and 21-18, in London on Wednesday.

The first set was point-for-point until a May-Treanor kill at 15-13. She and Walsh Jennings confidently cruised to a 21-16 win, playing mistake-free volleyball in stark contrast to their first-set struggles against China in the semifinals.

The second set began in much the same manner until 9-9; after that, Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor didn't surrender the lead.

[ Photos: Decoding beach volleyball hand signals ]

Their 20th point was on an emphatic Walsh Jennings block that sent her leaping around the sand. The match point saw Ross send the ball out of bounds on a serve, sending the champions into celebration — including May-Treanor's trademark "running man" dance near the stands at the end.

"They were tough to stop. They didn't make any mistakes at all. My hat's off to them," said Kessy, who was proud of her team's Olympic silver. "We're going to be wearing these medals when we're old ladies, drinking by the fire."

The women's beach volleyball's gold-medal match featured one of the London Games' most enticing storylines: The most successful team in the sport's Olympic history playing in its last match together, facing fellow Americans that had thrived in its shadow for years.

After their upset of top-ranked Brazil, Kessy said the notion that she and Ross were "the other U.S. team" was permanently dispelled. "No way. We are our own team," she said Tuesday night.

When asked if she and Ross were spoilers for May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings' last match, Kessy said: "They've gotten their two gold medals. We're not spoiling anything."

In the end, they didn't. Not on a night when the champs decided to cement their legacy with an efficient, confident performance.

It was the final chapter for May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings, a duo who helped bring women's beach volleyball to prominence for American fans.

[ Photos: Beach volleyball players cover up amidst cool London weather ]

Their bikini-clad matches in Beijing drew big ratings in the U.S. and NBA players to the beach court in China. They became the faces of the sport; May-Treanor even parlayed it into an appearance on "Dancing With The Stars."

After their second Olympic gold medal in Beijing, they split as a team so Walsh Jennings could start a family. They reunited in 2011 for another Olympic push, but their journey to London wasn't an easy one — Ross and Kessy were actually ranked higher on the FIVB World Tour — and May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings sought help from the sports psychologist to help them "reconnect" as partners.

"We're out here for a reason: To be together, and to stand at the top of the podium," said May-Treanor after defeating China.

And that's where they ended their 11-year journey, gold around their necks for a third time.

More Olympics coverage on Yahoo! Sports:

Related Olympics coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
Elite Athlete Workouts: Kerri Walsh Jennings balances the Olympics with motherhood
How members of Team USA men's basketball helped Misty and Kerri warm up
U.S. beach volleyball duo talks marriage counseling

View Comments (324)
  • Yale beats Harvard 62-52 to clinch share of Ivy title

    Yale beats Harvard 62-52 to clinch share of Ivy title

    Yale beat Harvard in the most important basketball game between the longtime Ivy League rivals in decades - if not ever. Now the Bulldogs need to finish off fourth-place Dartmouth in the season finale to clinch the conference championship outright … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 minutes 30 seconds ago
  • Leonard and Parker lead Spurs, 120-111

    Kawhi Leonard had 25 points and Tony Parker added 24 as the San Antonio Spurs survived a wild offensive pace to beat the Denver Nuggets 120-111 on Friday night for their fourth straight victory. Tim Duncan added 15 points for San Antonio, which has … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 minutes ago
  • No. 14 Baylor rallies past last-place Texas Tech 77-74

    No. 14 Baylor rallies past last-place Texas Tech 77-74

    Taurean Prince scored 24 points, Kenny Chery and Rico Gathers added 18 apiece and No. 14 Baylor rallied from 12 down in the second half to beat last-place Texas Tech 77-74 on Friday night. Fellow senior Royce O'Neale hit consecutive 3s to break a … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 minutes ago
  • Thursday's Scoreboard

    Friday's Games … More »

    The Canadian Press - 10 minutes ago
  • Colorado stuns No. 8 Oregon State 68-65 in Pac-12 quarters

    Colorado stuns No. 8 Oregon State 68-65 in Pac-12 quarters

    Lexy Kresl scored 19 points, Jamee Swan picked up 11 of her 18 in the second half and Colorado stunned No. 8 Oregon State 68-65 on Friday night in the Pac-12 Conference tournament quarterfinals. Colorado (15-16) watched the regular-season champion … More »

    AP - Sports - 10 minutes ago