American duo April Ross and Alix Klineman are guaranteed to win at least silver in beach volleyball, which would be Ross’ third Olympic medal. But both are looking for their first gold as they face Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy of Australia in the final today.
Ross won a silver medal at the 2012 London Games with her partner Jen Kessy, and a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Games with Kerri Walsh Jennings.
Klineman, 31, switched to beach volleyball in 2017 after playing mostly indoor volleyball and teamed up with Ross, 39.
On Thursday, they defeated Anouk Vergé-Dépré and Joana Heidrich of Switzerland in straight sets, 21-12, 21-11, to advance to the gold medal match.
When asked if going for an Olympic medal was getting old news, Ross laughed.
“New!” she said emphatically. “We are going to prepare as hard as possible and recover as hard as possible for tomorrow.”
The final will be played in the Tokyo afternoon sun. But Ross and Klineman don’t seem concerned. They are getting used to the heat, they said, and are mentally prepared for the blistering conditions expected during the final.
Artacho del Solar and Clancy hope to follow in the footsteps of Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst, the last Australian duo to win an Olympic medal in the sport, a gold medal in 2000.
The gold medal match will take place Friday at 11:30 a.m. in Tokyo, Thursday at 10:30 p.m. East and will be broadcast live on NBC.