Last two U.S. teams fall at beach volleyball worlds

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The second-most decorated nation in beach volleyball world championships history won’t win any gold or silver this weekend. The last two American teams lost in bracket play Saturday.

2012 Olympic silver medalist April Ross and Whitney Pavlik were upset by Germans Karla Borger and Britta Buthe 21-15, 21-19 in the semifinals in Stare Jablonki, Poland.

The No. 3 seed must win the bronze-medal match later Saturday to ensure the U.S. doesn’t go medal-less at a worlds for the first time since 2001.

That’s because the last remaining U.S. men’s team, 2008 Olympic champion Phil Dalhausser and two-time Olympian Sean Rosenthal, lost in the round of 16, continuing a lackluster string of major tournament results for U.S. men.

Dalhausser and Rosenthal, the No. 3 seed, were beaten by No. 10 seed Ricardo and Alvaro Filho of Brazil 21-18, 21-17 on Saturday. Of the eight men’s teams remaining, four are Brazilian, including defending world champions and favorites Alison and Emanuel.

It’s now three straight international championships that a U.S. men’s pair has failed to get past the quarterfinals. The U.S. is in the midst of its longest men’s medal drought over worlds and Olympics since the sport’s debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

In 2011, Dalhausser and his Beijing Olympic champion teammate Todd Rogers were one of two U.S. duos eliminated in the round of 16. The 2012 Olympics saw Dalhausser and Rogers bounced in the same round, and Rosenthal and Jake Gibb downed in the quarterfinals.

The women’s bronze-medal match between Ross and Pavlik and Brazilians Lili and Seixas is at 11 a.m. ET. The gold-medal match between favorites Chen Xue and Zhang Xi of China and Borger and Buthe follows that at noon on Universal Sports.

Walsh Jennings heads back to beach with new partner

It’s over: a low-key Games on a far more human scale

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — The 2018 Winter Olympics shivered Sunday to a close, surely defined by cold and wind but destined — just as in Seoul 30 years before — to mark a key chapter in history on the Korean peninsula.

NBCOlympics.com: Sights and Sounds from the 2918 Olympics Closing Ceremony

These Games are likely to be recalled as an inflection point in Olympic history, too. After logistical dramas and more at Rio 2016 and Sochi 2014, the Olympic scene needed a Games at which the venues were built, the buses ran on time, security was subtle, the volunteers were super-friendly — organizationally, everything more or less just worked — and the spotlight shone on the athletes and their stories of inspiration.

That’s what PyeongChang delivered.

A low-key Games on a far more human scale.

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More of best GIFs from PyeongChang Olympics

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The 2018 Winter Games are over, but that doesn’t mean we’ll forget all the amazing heights reached by American athletes. Take a look back at a few of them here with an added twist, powered by Giphy: