Kerri Walsh of the US embraces her teammate Misty May-Treanor after they won the women Beach Volleyball preliminary phase Pool D match against Australia at the Centre Court of the stadium in Horse Guards Parade, on July 28, 2012 during the London 2012 Olympic Games. USA won 2-0. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL GARCIA (Photo credit should read DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/GettyImages)
By Jon Ackerman, NBC Olympics
As the featured women in Day 1's nightcap made their way through the mixed zone speaking with the media, Australia's Natalie Cook yelled over to Americans Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings.
"Did we make you nervous?" she asked.
May-Treanor glared back and said no, but she was only kidding. Behind her, Walsh Jennings laughed and said, "Yes, you did."
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The two-time reigning Olympic champs were definitely pushed in their first match, and coincidentally it came from one of the last women other than the Americans to win Olympic gold. Cook, appearing in her fifth Games, claimed the title at the 2000 Sydney Olympics before May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings won in 2004 and 2008.
The Americans have been so dominant at the Olympics that they've never even lost as much as a set. May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings pulled out both games Saturday, 21-18, 21-19, to move to 15-0 all-time in Olympic matches, and 30-0 in sets played.
But this one was more fun than most because of the women on the other side of the net, Cook and her partner Tamsin Hinchley. The women exchanged in some friendly trash talk via Twitter before the match, and a little more afterward.
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Yet when being serious, May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings have nothing but respect for the Aussies. That makes leaving with a win so much of a relief.
"Absolutely. Oh my gosh, this has been four years coming," Walsh Jennings said, adding, "Usually your first match in pool play is a bit, you know, you have some time to wake up."
"You had three gold medalists out on the court at the same time," May-Treanor said. "That makes it one of those (special) matches."
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It was louder than most too, considering the top-notch competitors, but also the late Saturday night start. First serve was at 11 p.m. local time, the last match of the day.
When asked to compare it to the Beijing Games atmosphere four years ago, May-Treanor said, "Here, the beer garden is full I think from morning till night."
Said Walsh-Jennings: "This feels like a summer barbeque. It's fantastic. We get to drive through the crowd from the practice courts to main court, and you smell beer and you hear the music and the people are so happy."
So are the champs after a hard-earned opening victory.
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