Misty May-Treanor, left, and Kerri Walsh Jennings won their third straight Olympic gold medal at the London Games.

Misty May-Treanor, left, and Kerri Walsh Jennings won their third straight Olympic gold medal at the London Games. (Robert Gauthier | Los Angeles Times / January 24, 2013)

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, who won their third straight Olympic gold medal in beach volleyball at last summer's London Games, have been named 2012 Sportswomen of the Year by the Los Angeles Sports Council.

The duo, considered the greatest female beach volleyball team of all time, will be honored at the eighth annual LA Sports Awards, to be held March 3 at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.

May-Treanor, a former Newport Harbor High standout, and Walsh Jennings capped off their illustrious Olympic careers by defeating fellow Americans April Ross and Jennifer Kessy in the final. They also won gold medals at the 2008 Beijing and 2004 Athens Games. During that span they dominated the sport, winning every Olympic match in which they competed as a team and losing just one of 43 sets.

The Sportswoman award is given to the local female athlete whose performance and character best exemplified the ideals of sportsmanship during the calendar year.

Away from the court, May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings are committed to making a positive impact on the lives of children. May-Treanor, who grew up in Orange County and attended Long Beach State, serves as a Sports Ambassador for Special Olympics Southern California.

Walsh Jennings, a Manhattan Beach resident, founded the "Chase the Stars Foundation," which supports programs and events that directly improve the well-being, health and quality of children's lives.

The LA Sports Awards are presented annually by the Sports Council to celebrate the greatest moments of the year in sports in the Los Angeles/Orange County area.

— From staff reports