The skies Thursday morning for the women’s beach volleyball final were gray and leaking. The air was heavy with foreboding, as if Mother Nature were ready to lend an assist in bringing down the indomitable United States team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh.
A near-sellout crowd braved a steady rain, wearing pastel-colored plastic ponchos that made the stands look like rows of dyed Easter eggs, to cheer on the Chinese team of Tian Jia and Wang Jie. They were No. 1 on the program because of a quirk in the international volleyball federation’s rules and No. 1 in the hearts of the home crowd, but a decided underdog to the defending Olympic champions.
May-Treanor and Walsh won their second gold medal, prevailing, 21-18, 21-18, at Chaoyang Park in a match that was every bit as close as the final score. The victory was their 108th in a row.