May-Treanor, Walsh Jennings take next step to gold
LONDON (AP) - Red. Blue. Gold.
No white for Misty May-Treanor's Olympic manicure. What would be the point of that?
Gold is far more fitting for the two-time Olympic beach volleyball champion, anyway.
May-Treanor, who paints her own nails despite a shaky right hand that is only a slight annoyance, plans to tidy up her look now that she and partner Kerri Walsh Jennings are done with pool play and on to the single-elimination rounds, which begin Friday night. The U.S. women will have an extra day to prepare before playing Saturday.
The defending gold medalist U.S. men's pair of Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers open knockout-round play Friday night against Italy.
"Now the real tournament starts,'' Dalhausser said after Thursday's win over the Czech Republic. "One bad match and you could be sent home.''
While the Americans take their next step in beach volleyball, Michael Phelps is set to swim his final individual race of the London Games on Friday in the 100-meter butterfly.
On Thursday night, Phelps won the 200 individual medley for his first individual gold of the games. It was his 16th gold and 20th career Olympic medal, extending his records in both categories. He's looking to defend his memorable butterfly gold from Beijing, where he edged Serbia's Milorad Cavic by only one-hundredth of a second.
May-Treanor revealed the other day that she has a tremor in her right hand. And, no, she insists, it's nothing to be concerned about - she hasn't even discussed it with her doctor. But when she tried to help a friend with her makeup in London, she quickly decided that it was a bad move.
"I have a shaking right hand; I have a tremor,'' May-Treanor said, picking at her fingers. "It's hard to paint my nails nicely. I was going to paint them red, white and blue, but I didn't know what to do with the white. So I went with gold.''
Do forgive the American star if the manicure isn't quite as spot on as her serve. Every little touch - literally, too - means so much right now as her brilliant career winds down.
This is May-Treanor's last Olympics. She already celebrated her 35th birthday this week at central London's picturesque Horse Guards Parade with a trio of pastries, each topped with - what else? - a gold candle.
"Oooh, gold candles, I like that,'' May-Treanor said.
Three gold medals would be even sweeter for this pair of American megastars.
Are those sparkly nails in some way a message to everybody else in the Olympic tournament to move out of the way?
"Because she has the gold, probably,'' Italy's Greta Cicolari said Thursday after she and partner Marta Menegatti advanced No. 1 out of their pool at 3-0.
Yet the U.S. team showed a brief, rare moment of vulnerability Wednesday night by dropping a set to Austrian sisters Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger. May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings rallied back for a 17-21, 21-8, 15-10 victory.
Spanning three Olympics, the Americans had gone 16 straight matches and 32 consecutive sets without dropping one.
"I was furious,'' Walsh Jennings said, determined to hit the practice court and work out any kinks.
Still, these two are the face of the tournament and everybody knows it.
Italy's Greta Cicolari and others appreciate that May-Treanor has earned the right to make a bold fashion - er, golden - statement. So many others on the Olympic sand also are sporting snazzy nails. Some are a series of stripes on each nail, or like May-Treanor, alternating colors.
Russia's Evgenia Ukolova plans to join in the trend and paint her fingernails after going au natural during pool play.
"It's nice for the next round,'' Ukolova said. "TV sometimes focuses on the nails. Usually players do this only on the Olympic games because it's such a special tournament.''
The Germans certainly get it.
"If I win a gold, I don't care about nails,'' said a smiling Sara Goller, with one stripe each of gold, red and black decorating her nails. "Everybody has so much pressure on them, that it's nice to have a little something fun to do.''
NBC Friday Olympic prime time schedule:
8 p.m.-midnight (EDT/PDT)
Swimming: gold medal finals in men's 100m butterfly, men's 50m freestyle, women's 200m backstroke, women's 800m freestyle. Track and field: men's shot put gold medal final. Women's Diving: springboard qualifying. Women's volleyball: U.S. vs. Serbia. Men's gymnastics: trampoline gold medal final.