The women’s beach volleyball competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics wrapped up yesterday with Team USA defeating Team USA for the gold medal—Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh Jennings beat April Ross and Jennifer Kessey, earning their third consecutive gold medal.
Of course, now that beach volleyball is all done, there’s pretty much no reason to go on living, let alone watching the Olympics. But don’t fret. In order to help ease you back into your regular, Olympic beach volleyball-less existence, we’ve put together an epic list of the photographic highlights from this year’s competition.
So go grab a snack, cue up Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You,” and get ready to see some rad photos.
I'm no volleyball expert, but that looks like great form.
50. Maria Antonelli (Brazil)
I'm just going to warn you: there will be many photos of Elsa Baqueriza McMillan on this list. I hope you don't mind.
49. Elsa Baqueriza McMillan (Spain)
Teammates don't shake hands. Teammates gotta hug.
48. Brazil's Antonelli & Rocha
Canada's Marie-Andree Lessnard and Annie Martin have to watch Britain's Zara Dempney and Shauna Mullin hug it out.
47. Canada vs. Great Britain
Because the women actually playing the matches in bikinis aren't enough, they also have cheerleader-like Beach Girls to entertain the crowd.
46. Beach Girls 1
This is one of the four Russian players from the tournament. Unfortunately, I can't identify her.
45. Russian Rear
Great Britain's Zara Dampney was a big hit with the photographers this year. Big hit.
44. Zara Dampney (Great Britain)
Laura Ludwig is rocking the pants.
43. Laura Ludwig (Germany)
You gotta love those alliterative Italian names.
42. Marta Menegatti (Itlay)
There are those Beach Girls again. They know how to entertain a crowd.
41. Beach Girls 2
She's totally focused.
40. Annie Martin (Canada)
Here's a nice close-up of Team Germany's hand signals.
39. Hand Signlas
That's some good form.
38. Chen Xue (China)
It's the Brazilian happy dance.
37. Antonelli & Rocha...again
Kind of looks like she's doing yoga, doesn't it?
36. Sophie Van Gestel (Netherlands)
We have seen Marta Menegatti before.
35. More Marta Menegatti
I did warn you that we'd be seeing a lot of Elsa.
34. More Elsa Baquerizo
Here's a nice action shot of the Czech Republic's Marketa Slukova going up against Brazil's Talita Rocha.
33. Slukova vs. Rocha
That Larissa is a real asset to the team. (Thanks folks, I'll be here all week!)
32. Brazil's Larissa Franca
Just Elsa and Liliana heading to the dressing room. No big deal.
31. Baquerizo & Fernandez
In case you were wondering, there were apparently 2 dudes on the Olympic beach volleyball cheerleading crew. Not that anyone was looking at them.
Here's eventual silver medalist Marleen Kessey watching to see what happens to her spike against Spains Baquerizo and Fernandez.
27. Spain vs. USA
So Germany's Laura Ludwig is pretty fit.
26. Laura Ludwig...again
So graceful, aren't they?
25. Brazil vs. Australia
Awww, they're so happy.
24. German Embrace
Why do the photographers always cut of their heads?
23. Britain's Dampney & Mullins
See what I mean? Always cutting off their heads. It's like they really like sexy backsides or something.
22. Beach Girls 4
Here's another classy shot.
21. More Antonelli & Rocha
OMG! What are those round things? Oh, right. They're heads.
20. Still more Antonelli & Rocha
No idea who this is, but I'm a big fan.
19. Just Chillin
I thin she is shouting "BJEEEEH!"...which is pronounced "YEAAAH" and is Flemish for "Yeaaah."
18. Netherlands' Iersel & Keizer
The Italians didn't get anywhere near the podium, but they sure looked good losing.
17. Greta Cicolari (Italy)
What are we going to do for the next four years without Elsa Baquerizo?
16. Who, Elsa?
More beach yoga from Brazil's Talita.
15. Talita Rocha (Brazil)
Have you even heard of this country?
14. Team Mauritius
Those are some pretty good beach bodies for a country that prefers its sports on ice.
13. The Canucks
Who liked chiseled abs?
12. Dampney Front
How does the photographer explain this shot to his wife?
"But honey, I was taking a picture of their hand signals!"
11. Dampney Rear
Appropriate responses to photos of this woman include "wow," "holy crap," "humanuh humanuh," and "wowoooga."
10. What, Elsa?
Golly those photographers really are obsessed with beach volleyball hand signals.
9. More hand signals
I'm no geography major, but I think they just made up this country so they'd have an excuse to put these two women in the tournament. (Sure, there's an entry for "Maurisius" in Wikipedia, but anybody can edit that. I'm not buying it.)
8. Team Mauritius again
That's a nice dig.
7. April Ross (USA)
Chen Xue makes me a big fan of Chinese beach volleyball.
6. Chen for the block
This is why I couldn't figure out who that mystery Russian was from #45. There were four players in the tournament, and of them had blonde hair and blue eyes.
5. Ekaterina Khomyakova (Russia)
Who needs the volleyball. Just make sexy beach cheerleading an olympic sport.
4. Beach Girls 5
This is Liliana Fernandez of Team Spain. God love her.
3. Who loves hand signals?
Pats on the butt: they're not just for burly football players anymore.
2. Team GB
And at #1 we have another amazing shot of Liliana Fernandez of Spain. You're welcome.