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US beach volleyball's Ross, Klineman capture Olympic gold in Tokyo

The win over Australia is the first time the U.S. women have won Olympic gold in the event since the 2012 London Games.
/ Source: NBC News

The A-Team is bringing Olympic gold in women's beach volleyball back to the U.S.

Americans April Ross and Alix Klineman's beat Australia in two sets at the Tokyo Games on Friday, marking the first time the U.S. has claimed gold since 2012, when powerhouse pair Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor won their third in a row.

The U.S. team, known as the "A-Team" because of their initials, started off strong in its win over Australia's Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy and never lost the lead.

Ross, a three-time Olympian, won bronze at the 2016 Rio Games and silver in 2012 in London. Klineman made her Olympic debut in Tokyo.

They were undefeated in their gold-medal run.

Klineman (left) and Ross celebrate winning their women's beach volleyball final match agains Australia at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Aug. 6, 2021.ANGELA WEISS / AFP via Getty Images

On the road to Friday's final match, the U.S. team beat a German team that included 2016 gold-medalist Laura Ludwig, as well as Switzerland.

Along the way, Ross and Klineman were cheered on by Mr. T, the actor famous for his role as the gold-chain wearing strongman B.A. Baracus in the 1980s television series that shares a name with the athletes' nickname.

"I Pity the Competition," the actor tweeted Tuesday.

It was a return to the top Olympic pedestal for U.S. women in beach volleyball.

Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor won the gold in three straight Olympics — in 2004 in Athens, 2008 in Beijing, and in 2012 in London.

May-Treanor retired after the 2012 Games. Walsh Jennings and Ross teamed up for Rio, where they won bronze.

Earlier Friday in Tokyo, Switzerland's Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidrich beat Latvia in two sets to win the bronze.

The men's bronze and final matches will be Saturday in Tokyo, but the U.S. did not advance.