USA's Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross topped Brazil’s Larissa and Talita 17-21, 21-17, 15-9 to take bronze in the women’s beach volleyball tournament.
The top-seeded Brazilian women took the lead in the first set and stayed just out of reach of the U.S. women. Walsh Jennings and Ross struggled to close the gap before the Larissa and Talita took the first set 21-17.
Brazil took the lead in the second set but the U.S. women rallied back after the first technical time out. Walsh Jennings and Ross continued to gain momentum, taking the second set 21-17 for force a decisive third.
Running off their second set win, the U.S. women put the first point on the board and held a one-point advantage against the Brazilians through the majority of the third set. Walsh Jennings crushed the Brazilians at the net while Ross’ impressive digs seemed boundless. The U.S. women continued their run to top Brazil, winning the match 17-21, 21-17, 15-9.
The victory marked Walsh Jennings’ fourth Olympic medal, making her the oldest female medal winner in beach volleyball history and the fifth beach volleyball player to win medals with two different partners.
Walsh Jennings and Ross, both London medalists, were upended in the semifinals by Brazilians Agatha and Barbara. The defeat marked Walsh Jennings’ first loss of her Olympic career.
Walsh Jennings, who won her first of three consecutive gold medals at the Athens Games, remains uncertain if she’ll attempt to return to the 2020 Olympics. After the U.S. women's loss in the semifinals, Walsh Jennings told the Associated Press, “I know I can [win another gold medal]. I just don’t know if I want to.”
Germany's Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst swept Brazil's Agatha and Barbara 21-18, 21-14 in the women's gold medal match. The victory marked the nation's first medal in women's beach volleyball.
The men's tournament will come to a close on Aug. 18 as Alison and Bruno Schmidt of Brazil face off against Italy's Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai for gold. Robert Meeuwsen and Alexander Brouwer will take on Russia's Viascheslav Krasilnikov and Konstantin Semenov in the men's bronze medal match.