Beijing, China, August 10, 2008 - Reigning Olympic champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh opened defense of their title earned four years ago in Athens as the Americans defeated a team from Japan here Sunday morning before the Austrian Schwaiger sisters posted the first seed-break-through in the women’s Beach Volleyball competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
With their 21-12 and 21-15 Pool B win over 23rd-seeded Chiaki Kusuhara and Mika Teru Saiki in 36 minutes, the second-seeded May-Treanor and Walsh improved their international winning streak to 63-straight victories since losing in June 2007 in Norway to Jia Tian and Jie Wang of China in the Stavanger semi-finals.
“It was our first-time playing at this centre court, so it was pretty exciting” said May-Treanor, who is completing in her third Beach Volleyball Olympics after placing fifth in the Sydney 2000 Summer Games with Holly McPeak. “Actually, it felt like home because we had the heat, the sun and the rain. It was a perfect combination.”
The Americans finish pool play Tuesday and Thursday with early morning matches against teams from Cuba and Norway as May-Treanor and Walsh have now won eight-straight Olympic decisions together with seven victories at the Athens 2004 Summer Games highlighted by a gold meal triumph over Brazilians Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede.
May-Treanor and Walsh face 14th-seeded Dalixia Fernandez and Tamara Larrea Peraza of Cuba in their next match Tuesday following by a Thursday meeting with 11th-seeded Nila Ann Hakedal and Ingrid Torlen of Norway. The Cubans opened with a 22-20 and 21-19 win Saturday after over Hakedal and Torlen in 51 minutes.
Women’s Pool F matches were also played in Sunday’s first session as sixth-seeded Talita Antunes/Renata Rebeiro joined the Schwaigers (Doris and Stephanie) in winning their opening group match. After the Schwaigers netted a 21-18 and 21-18 upset victory in 47 minutes over seventh-seeded Vassliki Arvaniti and Vasso (Karadassiou) Karantasiou of Greece, Talita and Renata scored an 18-21, 21-16 and 15-8 decision over 19th-seeded Bibiana Candelas and Mayra Garcia.
After six days of pool play, the Beach Volleyball competition for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will feature the men’s and women’s 16-team elimination brackets starting August 15.