Australians winless in beach volleyball

In search of a medal in her Olympic swansong beach volleyballer Natalie Cook couldn't even find a win as Australia suffered their worst campaign since the sport's Games debut.

Five-time Olympian Cook and partner Tamsin Hinchley, along with Becchara Palmer and Louise Bawden, posted three consecutive losses to bow out in the group phase of the tournament winless.

It was Australia's worst result since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics with top-five finishes every Games since then.

Cook, 37, admitted the competition had gotten younger and stronger and quickly quashed any possibility of a comeback.

"The mind and the body needs a rest. Not a rest that I'm coming back from, but a rest forever," she said.

Cook leaves the sport with a string of accolades to her name having won bronze in Atlanta and gold in Sydney with Kerri Pottharst.

Cook also made history in London as the first Australian woman to compete at five summer Games and is the only female beach volleyball to compete in every Games since the sport's Olympic debut.

"The Olympics is the greatest thing on earth. I have been privileged to be part of it and I could not be prouder," Cook said after bowing out.

"If I inspired just one Aussie kid who will say to his mother 'Mum, I want to play beach volleyball', I am happy.'

"I am proud to be an Olympian and an Australian."

Australia's No.1 duo of Palmer and Bawden, who were making their Olympic debut as a team, admitted the grandeur of the event had got to them.

"We are going to have to go back and reassess how we approach these type of arenas," said the 30-year-old Bawden, who competed in her first Olympics as part of Australia's indoor team in 2000.

Cook and Hinchley's first opponents in London, American duo Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, went on to win their third consecutive gold medal.

The US veterans will retire from the sport undefeated at the Olympics.