LONDON — When temperatures dropped into the low 60s for the first night session at Horse Guards Parade, the Olympic beach volleyball players said bye-bye to their bikinis.
Two-time defending gold medalists Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor of the United States wore long-sleeved shirts on top of bikini bottoms for their victory over Australians Natalie Cook and Tasmin Hinchley, a match that started at 11 p.m. when the temperature was 63 degrees.
The Americans won 21-18, 21-19, rallying from a four-point deficit in the second set to win on May-Treanor's spike that ended a lengthy set point. Walsh and May-Treanor have never lost a set in three Olympics.
Two-piece swimsuits have long been the standard attire in the sport. Players say the skimpy clothes allow less room for sand to get underneath and chafe. But international rules have long allowed women to wear warmer clothes when the temperature drops.
The FIVB changed an unrelated rule recently to also allow shorts and T-shirts for women whose cultural beliefs require them to cover up.
Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor have said they don't mind the weather: They won their second gold medal, in Beijing, in a torrential downpour. They also played once in the snow, in Lake Tahoe, Nev., on the AVP domestic professional tour.
After winning the first set 21-18, they fell behind 13-9 in the second before coming back to tie it. They dispatched Cook, a five-time Olympian and two-time medalist, and Hinchley.