“We want to seal the deal that we’re the best team that’s ever happened,” Walsh Jennings said Tuesday night after the two-time gold medalists advanced to their third consecutive Olympic final with a 22-20, 22-20 victory over China. “I want to win tomorrow for us. … This will be our last match together, so we want to go out on top.”
A few hours later, Kessy and Ross beat the top-seeded Brazilians to join their fellow Californians in tonight’s gold medal game. Prince Harry is expected to attend, following prime minister David Cameron by one night to the stands at Horse Guards Parade, which has also hosted such luminaries as Bill Gates, Prince Albert of Monaco and London Mayor Boris Johnson.
“I can’t believe it. I only let myself picture it in my dreams,” Ross said. “I never really expected it. I knew that we could do it, but the competition in the final four is so big.”
Ross and Kessy rallied from a first-set loss and a four-point deficit in the second to beat reigning world champions Juliana and Larissa, 15-21, 21-19, 15-12. The Brazilians will play in the third-place game against China’s Xue Chen and Zhang Xi, who are trying to repeat their bronze-medal finish from Beijing.
THOMPSON STARTS IN U.S. WIN
Courtney Thompson, a former Kentlake High and University of Washington star, made her first start in London in the Americans’ 25-14, 25-21, 25-22 women’s volleyball win over the Dominican Republic to advance to the semifinals.
Thompson started in place of captain Lindsey Berg, who hurt her ankle in the previous match. Thompson had a block in the first set and a six-service run – including an ace – in the second set.
“Courtney’s a quarterback,” outside hitter Destinee Hooker said. “She went out there and took control of the game. She knows our rhythm, and it was great to have her on the court.”
The top-ranked U.S. will play South Korea in Thursday’s semifinals.
Often during timeouts, Berg pulled Thompson, a two-time News Tribune All-Area player of the year, in 2001 and ’02, aside to discuss strategy.
“It was great, I had fun and I was thankful,” said Thompson, a 2003 Kentlake graduate who had 41 assists in the bronze-medal match win over the Dominican Republic at the 2011 Pan Am Games. “My teammates are amazing.”
Berg’s status for the semifinals was uncertain.
“It’s day to day,” coach Hugh McCutcheon said. “I thought Courtney did a great job. I don’t think we missed too many beats tonight.”
“Ice, rest, massage and hope for the best,” Berg said of her treatment plans, “and if not, I’m confident Courtney can do it.”
Diana Taurasi had 15 points and Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm had five assists as the U.S. beat Canada, 91-48, to advance to the semifinals in women’s basketball. The U.S. will face Australia and Storm star Lauren Jackson in the semifinals Thursday. ... Track cycling wrapped up at the London Velodrome, and Chris Hoy broke the British record with his sixth Olympic gold medal, defending his keirin title. … Britain ended Germany’s decades-long domination of team dressage by winning the gold at Greenwich Park, adding to its first team show jumping gold in 60 years, which it won a day earlier. The U.S. was sixth, and Rafalca – owned by Ann Romney, wife of presidential candidate Mitt Romney – finished 28th. … Ilya Zakharov of Russia scored 104.50 points on his last dive to win the 3-meter springboard. Troy Dumais of the U.S. finished fifth. … Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina won duet for Russia, which hasn’t lost an Olympic synchronized swimming event since the 1996 Atlanta Games. … It was a family affair on the podium for the men’s triathlon, with Alistair Brownlee taking the gold for Britain and younger brother Jonathan finishing third. … China won the women’s team table tennis title with a 3-0 victory against Japan. … Behdad Salimikordasiabi of Iran won the final gold medal of the weightlifting competition, lifting a total of 455 kilograms in the super heavyweight class. … The U.S. failed to medal in any of the Greco-Roman events at the Olympics for the first time since 1976.