Two-time Olympic champions Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor had to settle for a rare second-place finish at the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Championships on Sunday in Rome, Italy.
Walsh, a Stanford grad, and May-Treanor fell to top-seeded Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta Da Silva of Brazil, 21-17, 13-21, 16-14, in a tight 46-minute match.
The silver medal for May-Treanor and Walsh is their fourth medal at the FIVB World Championships, adding to their three gold medals in the 2003 (Rio De Janeiro), 2005 (Berlin) and 2007 (Gstaad) edition of the tournament.
They were playing in their 47th FIVB gold-medal match in 63 tournaments. With the loss, May-Treanor and Walsh had their 29-match FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship win streak snapped and are now 32-2 overall in the event.
Franca and Da Silva defeated May-Treanor and Walsh for just the sixth time in 17 meetings. The two sides also met during the 2005 FIVB Beach World Championship gold-medal match in which the Americans won. The Brazilian victory also snapped an American string of four consecutive FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship titles on the women's side as Jen Kessy and April Ross won the event in 2009.
May-Treanor and Walsh have a 36-11 international record in final matches with 53 podium placements. Thirteen of the 17 matches between the Americans and Brazilians have been gold-medal meetings, with May-Treanor and Walsh winning eight times.
Of the $1 million purse at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, the gold-medal teams in each gender split $60,000, the silver- medal teams $45,000, and the bronze-medal teams $35,000.
May-Treanor and Walsh most recently won the Beijing Grand slam last weekend. Just over a month ago May-Treanor suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) during the Sanya Open in China that forced her to miss time on the sand.
The next stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour will be the ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger in Norway. Five U.S. women's teams will compete June 27-July 2 while five U.S. men's teams play June 28-July 3.