Misty May-Treanor enjoying Olympic beach volleyball experience from home
On the day Kerri Walsh Jennings celebrated after winning bronze in her fourth trip to the Olympics, the woman who battled alongside her for years in the sand was nowhere near the beach-volleyball stadium or Rio’s spotlight.
Misty May-Treanor was back in the gym,
Four years ago, the longtime partners were in London, winning an unprecedented third straight Olympic gold medal. But as Manhattan Beach resident Walsh Jennings made her Rio run, May-Treanor tackled her new job as Long Beach City College’s director of volleyball operations. She’s also head coach of the Vikings women’s indoor team, which has its first preseason scrimmage in a little more than a week. So there’s much to do.
The greatest beach duo of all time couldn’t be in more disparate situations. May-Treanor, taking some time to talk after locking up her temporary office in the corner of the LBCC gym, is comfortable with that.
“What’s made it easier, and something I try to pass on to our athletes, is that it’s OK to have more than one passion,” said May-Treanor, who grew up playing volleyball on the beach in Santa Monica and grew her love for the sport at Newport Harbor High and Long Beach State. “I’m doing something else that I love.”
Life isn’t all work these days. May-Treanor is also spending time with her husband, longtime professional baseball player Matt Treanor, and their 2-year-old daughter, Malia.
One of their recent activities? Watching the Olympics on TV, of course. May-Treanor said Malia is particularly fond of swimming and does lively impressions of the athletes competing in indoor volleyball and track and field.
However, one sport they haven’t spent much time watching this summer is beach volleyball, May-Treanor said. It’s not by design; their busy lives just haven’t aligned well with NBC’s tape-delayed approach to games coverage.
“It doesn’t come on until, like 11,” May-Treanor said. “We put Malia down at 8, and then I’m usually asleep by then.”
On Tuesday night, the family figured out how to hook up a live stream. So the first match she was able to watch this year was, sadly, that night’s semifinal defeat for Walsh Jennings, her former partner’s first-ever loss in Olympic competition.
Walsh Jennings and new partner April Ross were relegated to the third-place game by Brazil’s reigning world champions, Bárbara Seixas and Ágatha Bednarczuk, who beat the Americans in two stunning straight sets.
“It’s really hard playing Brazilians in Brazil,” said May-Treanor. “There’s things I would have done or adjustments I would have made; it’s a lot easier to see watching on television than when you’re competing.”
Wednesday night’s medal matches also were scheduled to be streamed live, so May-Treanor invited several friends to watch the bronze- and gold-medal matches, including former USA national team setter Debbie Green, May-Treanor’s position coach at Long Beach State and a volunteer assistant with her at LBCC.
“It’s been different, but it’s been fun being home and watching different events,” she said. “I haven’t been able to do that since I was a kid.”
Does she miss the games? She acknowledged that her Olympic fever won’t ever fully fade. But she’s very much at peace with her life.
“Every four years I’ll probably get the bug, but those are my stories to share with Malia,” she said. “I honestly couldn’t see myself leaving my family for three weeks. Maybe in four years they can all can go with me to Tokyo, but I’d be there as a commentator or a fan, not as a player.”
This morning, Walsh Jennings will have the Rio Olympics behind her. And she’ll have choices to make about her career.
Asked if she can come back for another try at a gold medal, Walsh Jennings said earlier this week, “I know I can. I just don’t know if I want to.”
Across the hemisphere, May-Treanor said her plans for this morning included watching a little Olympic action with her family.
But not for too long. She’s got to get back to the LBBC gym, back to work with her team.
The Associated Press contributed to the article.
REFER: Americans bounce back, claim bronze in thriller over Brazilians Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca.
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