London, Great Britain, August 24, 2012 – Three weeks after the end of the London Olympics, the FIVB reflects on the amazing pairing of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh. With May-Treanor's retirement from beach volleyball, a truly great team enters the history books.
May-Treanor, who turned 35 on July 30, and Walsh, who turned 34 on August 15, will leave a legacy in the sport of beach volleyball unlikely to be equalled. In the short of it, they won 21 consecutive Olympic beach volleyball matches without a loss and earned a golden hat trick as their crowning glory. In the process, these queens of the court achieved an unbelievable 42-1 win-loss record in Olympic sets played.
May-Treanor announced earlier this year that she would retire after the London Olympic Games, and she went out on a high.
“Beach volleyball is not my career anymore,” May-Treanor said after the Olympic final in front of a packed Horse Guards Parade. “I want to be a wife, a mother. My mind and my body both agree it’s time to say goodbye, but my heart wants to stay. I will always have some strong ties to the sport. It’s time for me to help the next generation working with youngsters and younger players to develop the passion for this sport that I have had for all of these years. I will finish my master’s degree in coaching and athletic administration at Concordia College in November.”
May-Treanor and Walsh ended their FIVB SWATCH World Tour career on July 7 by winning the gold medal at the 1to1 Energy Grand Slam in Gstaad, Switzerland, before completing their amazing run in the Olympic Games.
In 2011, May-Treanor came out of two-year retirement forced by a number of serious injuries. She and Walsh – who had also taken a lengthy time away from the game to give birth to two sons – had just one purpose when they re-joined each other on the sand. They wanted to win gold once more, eight years after they first climbed the podium in Athens in 2004.
“We wanted to do this for us and our families,” said May-Treanor. “This time it was for totally different reasons that the first two times. We even had two years away from playing together for lots of reasons. The first two gold medals were for volleyball. This one was about friendship and family. It’s ultimately us, but we have such a large support group and our families have become so close it’s almost like one family.”
“We set our expectations very high and set the bar very high with our first two gold medals and this time we extended ourselves to an even higher level, surpassing the standard that we had already set.”
Praise came easily from May-Treanor and Walsh’s opponents in the gold medal match.
“They are the best team of all time,” said Jennifer Kessy. “They really stepped up their game and we couldn’t stop them. Their seven matches in London may have been the seven best of their entire career when all things are considered. It’s always a privilege to play them and an honour to lose to them as well.”
“I can’t believe they came back and accomplished what they did," said April Ross. "We saw them get better and better. Misty turned on another level and Kerri was just the smiling monster at the net. We didn’t want to lose but we are so proud that the USA could have the Olympic gold and silver medals for the first time in women’s beach volleyball.”