Sand Castle: Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh Retain Beach Crown

For the an unprecedented third-straight Olympics, Americans Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh are gold medal winners in women's beach volleyball.

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Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh Win Beach Volleyball Gold

Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh won their third consecutive Olympic gold medal Wednesday, earning them the distinction of being the darlings, if not rock stars of these summer games.

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Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh Win Third Straight Beach Volleyball Gold

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings are essentially a dynasty in women's beach volleyball, having won gold medals in 2004 and 2008 while representing Team USA. The teammates proved that the third time was a charm, too, as they were able to take home their third consecutive gold medal following their victory in the all-USA finals at the 2012 London Olympics.

May-Treanor and Walsh once again stuck close through the early points in the second set of the gold medal match, but the veterans eventually did just enough to defeat their American teammates in Jennifer Kessy and April Ross while clinching their third straight Olympic victory.

Kessy and Ross were able to stick with May-Treanor and Walsh early, but the reigning champions went on a four-point run to force Kessy and Ross to call a timeout at 18-14 as they tried to shift the momentum. It didn't work, though, and May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings earned their third consecutive gold medal with a 21-16 victory in the final set of the Olympics.

It was an incredibly impressive run for May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings considering they lost just one set throughout their quest to the gold medal -- especially considering they actually retired for a bit in between the Beijing and London Olympics.

For more on the Olympics, check out SB Nation's London 2012 Olympics hub. For more on Olympic beach volleyball, follow the 2012 Olympic beach volleyball section.

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April Ross, Jennifer Kessy Set Up All-Team USA Women's Beach Volleyball Final

After Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings moved on to their third consecutive gold medal final in women's beach volleyball early Tuesday evening, April Ross and Jennifer Kessy followed suit later in the night, setting up an all-American clash for the top spot in the sport.

Ross and Kessy defeated the top-ranked Brazilian team of Larissa Franca and Juliana Silva in three sets, 15-21, 21-19, 15-12. Ross and Kessy trailed at 12-8 in the second set before turning the tide, and never trailed in the third set.

The all-U.S. final will be the first women's beach volleyball final matching two teams from the same country since 1996, when Brazil's Sandra Pires and Jackie Silva took gold while fellow Brazilians Monica Rodrigues and Adriana Samuel won silver in the inaugural women's beach volleyball tournament at the Summer Olympics. The gold medal match will take place Wednesday at 9 p.m. in London, or 4 p.m. ET. The May/Walsh pairing has won gold in each of the last two Olympics, and has never been beaten in Olympic play.

Brazil's top-ranked team will meet the Chinese team of Chen Xue and Xi Zhang, defeated in the other semifinal, for bronze. That match will be contested at 2 p.m. Eastern.

For more on the Olympics, check out SB Nation's London 2012 Olympics hub. For more on Olympic beach volleyball, follow the 2012 Olympic beach volleyball section.

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