Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dominating Duo

     There have been some remarkable undefeated streaks, seasons and careers throughout sports history. Former heavyweight boxer Rocky Marciano went 49-0 in his boxing career, winning 43 of those matches by knockout. He never lost nor did he fight to a draw in his career. The 1972 Miami Dolphins, led by head coach Don Shula and notable players Bob Griese, Larry Csonka and Earl Morrall, finished the regular season 14-0-0. They went on to beat the Washington Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl VII. The '72 Dolphins aren't the only NFL team to finish the regular season undefeated, though. The 2007 New England Patriots finished the regular season 16-0 thanks to head coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Unfortunately for New England, they lost to the New York Giants by a score of 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII. Another undefeated season worthy of recognition actually happened most recently. The Baylor Lady Bears basketball team went 40-0 this year and won the NCAA women's title. The Brittney Griner-led squad went on a record-breaking tear, beating the likes of Notre Dame, Connecticut and even beating Tennessee on the road.
     But there might not be a greater undefeated run than the one put together by Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings. Called "The greatest beach volleyball team of all time" by many experts, May-Treanor and Walsh-Jennings won Olympic gold at both the 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. What's more impressive is that they've gone thirty consecutive sets without a loss as a duo (including their two-set win over Australian duo Natalie Cook, who won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and Tasmin Hinchley yesterday). If you want even more impressive facts, check this out: Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings won their gold medal in 2004 without losing a single game. Let's not forget that Walsh-Jennings won her second gold medal after having rotator cuff surgery the previous fall.
     Even though beach volleyball became an official Olympic sport at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the accomplishments set by May-Treanor and Walsh-Jennings can't be overlooked. Yes, Misty ruptured her left Achilles tendon in the fall of 2008 while on "Dancing With The Stars". Yes, Kerri got pregnant soon after the games. But through all the adversity, they always manage to pull through when it matters most. They finished the 2008 Beijing Olympics with an undefeated streak of 108 matches that includes international and domestic play. The dynamic duo have also won three world championships (2003, 2005 and 2007). Judging from their most recent match against Australia's Cook and Hinchley, the dominant American team doesn't seem to have lost a single step on the sand.

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