U.S. golden girls appear unstoppable

BEIJING Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:05pm EDT

Kerry Walsh (R) and Misty May-Treanor of the U.S. celebrate after winning the final match against Jie Wang and Jia Tiang of China at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Grand Slam in Berlin in this June 14, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele/Files

Kerry Walsh (R) and Misty May-Treanor of the U.S. celebrate after winning the final match against Jie Wang and Jia Tiang of China at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Grand Slam in Berlin in this June 14, 2008 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Johannes Eisele/Files

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BEIJING (Reuters) - It seems almost unfair to let Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh take part in the Olympic beach volleyball.

The defending champions are on such a strong winning streak, it is hard to imagine how anybody might put an end to it.

The duo have won both world championships since they took gold in Athens and have not lost a single match on the world or U.S. professional tours for almost a year.

"We're a really good team, and they're a great team," said Elaine Youngs who, with her partner Nicole Branagh, has often been on the losing side of the net against the duo.

Walsh and May-Treanor are both at their third Olympics, although in Sydney Walsh played indoor volleyball while her partner was on the sand with Holly McPeak, placing fifth.

They joined forces in 2001 and had a rocky first few months before hitting their stride, and they have been pretty much unstoppable since.

In July, May-Treanor won her 100th tournament while Walsh would get her century with a gold in Beijing.

"It's all about pacing and maintaining so that you peak at the right time," said May-Treanor, who was babysat by famed beach volleyball player Karch Kiraly as a child.

Both Walsh and May-Treanor have married professional sportsmen since they won in Athens and have hinted the Beijing Games could be their swan song before they have children.

Their reign could come under attack from Brazil and China, which is becoming a force in the beautiful world of bronzed bodies and bikinis.

"They're hard-working, young, they're taller and they have the passion," May-Treanor said.

(Editing by Robert Woodward)

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