The women's Olympic beach volleyball final will be an all-American final match after U.S. pairs both won their semifinals today.
In a comeback thriller, Americans April Ross and Jennifer Kessy upset 2011 world champions Brazil after losing nine straight games to the pair, Larissa Franca and Juliana Silva.
The Brazilian team was a gold-medal favorite in the 2008 Beijing Games, but just weeks before they were headed to China, an injury sidelined Silva, forcing Franca to play with a partner with whom she had not practiced.
This time around, Franca and Silva had a strong chance of reaching the final. A dominant performance in the first set gave little reason to suspect otherwise.
But the Americans fought back the Brazilians' momentum with a narrow victory in the second set. The Americans persevered through a tight third set for the win.
The other American team, Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, today inched closer to their third-straight women's beach volleyball gold medal with a victory over China in the semifinal.
The Chinese pair, Xue Chen and Zhang Xi, had been playing poorly throughout the London Games, barely earning a spot in the Round of 16. Expectations were low for Xue and Zhang, but the Americans, the most decorated athletes in the sport, had to stage a comeback to win the first set and the game never seemed comfortably in U.S. hands.
Tuesday also brought some memorable moments on the track.
In the 1,500 meters, Algerian Taoufik Makhloufi won gold after being reinstated from his expulsion from the games. The International Olympic Committee expelled Makhloufi for blatantly not running his best in the 800 meters — he stopped running altogether within 200 meters — but reinstated him the same day when he obtained a doctor's note. He was not supposed to run in the 800 meters event, but his team failed to withdraw his registration for it before the deadline.
Americans came out on top in the women's 200 meters, where Sanya Richards-Ross, Allyson Felix and Carmelita Jeter advanced to the final.
Drama from the U.S. women's soccer semifinal victory over Canada carried over to Tuesday, with FIFA announcing that it was investigating comments that Canadian players made after their loss alleging that Norwegian referee Christiana Pedersen had made biased calls throughout the game.
"In an important match it's a disappointment the referee had such an impact on it. We feel cheated," Canadian captain Christine Sinclair said after the match.
Earlier in the day, mixed results ended the saga of U.S. women's gymnastics' "Fabulous Five" today, as Gabby Douglas fell in the beam final and Aly Raisman won a gold medal in the floor exercise. Raisman scraped a bronze in the beam final after a protest by American officials won her a tiebreaker with Romanian Catalina Ponor.