Kerri Walsh Jennings narrowly missed out on a fourth career gold medal during a much-anticipated midnight beach volleyball match in Rio, but Walsh Jennings' ex-partner, Misty May-Treanor, isn't even in Rio. In fact, the three-time Olympic gold medalist mostly retired from beach volleyball after the London Olympics in 2012, only participating in a couple of matches since then. So what is May-Treanor up to now instead?
May-Treanor competed in the last four Olympics prior to Rio, so it's the first time in the 2000s that she's not been there. "I have new priorities now," she told NBC, one of the most important being her two-year-old daughter, Malia. "I have a full-time job. For me, my career has moved on. We did great things and accomplished great things, and now I'm hopefully taking my accomplishments elsewhere."
The 39-year-old may have retired from competition, but she hasn't completely left volleyball behind. Last month, May-Treanor assumed a new position as director of volleyball operations at Long Beach City College. She will also serve as the school's head coach for the women's indoor and beach volleyball teams. May-Treanor's long-term goal is to get Long Beach City College volleyball players to four-year schools, and she draws inspiration from her parents in this respect.
"A lot of people want to coach in the NCAA; I've always wanted to coach at the community college level," she told the Long Beach Press-Telegram. "I love working with those athletes, both my parents coached at Santa Monica Community College when I was growing up. That's what I was raised around."
Every now and then, May-Treanor caves for friends who are seeking a volleyball partner, but she doesn't plan to make a comeback in international competition. In 2015, May-Treanor played in the AVP Tour for the first time in almost three years, but she told NBC she has since faced some knee problems that might make her a good candidate for a knee replacement. However, being able to play on the AVP Tour isn't her main concern. "If I get my knee healthy, it's about being able to run around with Malia and my husband," she said. "Volleyball is secondary for me."
Even though May-Treanor has new priorities these days, she remains one of the most successful female beach volleyball players in history — with her 112 individual championship wins, she is second only to Walsh Jennings, her ex-partner. Moreover, she is poised to be a leader and mentor for the volleyball players at Long Beach City College, which will allow her to shape a new generation of athletes and contribute to her sport in a new, but still significant way.