Former Cardinal All-American Kerri Walsh Takes Home Gold In Athens

Aug. 24, 2004

Athens, Greece - Former Stanford All-American Kerri Walsh and playing partner Misty May ended a splendid night on the beach with a gold medal, a fitting finale for the most dominant run in the history of beach volleyball.The top-ranked U.S. beach volleyball duo beat second-seeded Brazilians Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar 21-17, 21-11 on Tuesday night, and did it without ever dropping a set in seven matches.``It kind of hit me when I went and saw my family and they had tears in their eyes,'' Walsh said. ``They flew a million miles to see it and they hate flying. It's really special.''With the 6-foot-3 Walsh dominating at the net and the quick May scrambling and diving for every dig, they were favorites since last year, when they began an unprecedented 90-match, 15-tournament winning streak.``We have so much confidence in each other, we never doubted ourselves,'' May said.``We deserve it,'' Walsh added.The Americans and Brazilians exchanged hugs on the medal stand before the national anthem played. Adriana and Shelda, the all-time winningest pair on the international FIVB tour, won their second straight silver medal.On match point in a surprisingly lopsided final, Walsh hammered a spike just inside the line. Walsh fell to her knees as May ran to embrace her and both fell backward in the sand.``I just tackled her,'' May said. ``I didn't care if I broke her knees because she has a lot of time to rest.''Questions about the pair's Olympic chances arose in June, shortly after May pulled an abdominal muscle. She spent most of the summer rehabbing while Walsh kept homing her game with other partners.If they had weaknesses, they certainly weren't apparent in Athens where they were untouchable, improving to 108-8 over two years.``A lot of people had doubts,'' May said. ``I tried to tell people I never had doubts.''But they never took the medal for granted.``People said, 'You've got the gold medal in the bag,''' Walsh said. ``However flattering that is, we know that's not true.''Walsh played on The Farm from 1996-99 and ranks third in career digs with 1,285 and fourth in career blocks with 502. She was tabbed National Co-Player of the Year in 1999 and was a two-time Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year.courtesy of AP

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