Misty May was one of the greatest college athletes of her time. She won consecutive National Volleyball Player of the Year awards and as a senior was presented the Honda-Broderick Cup as the nation’s top collegiate female athlete in any sport.
After completing her collegiate eligibility, May joined the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, but her traditional volleyball career did not last long. A few months later, May quit the team to focus on her budding beach volleyball career with partner Holly McPeak. The two participated in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games but did not medal.
Perhaps the most important moment of May’s experience at the Sydney Games was her family meeting the family of indoor volleyball player Kerri Walsh, which led to the two players becoming a beach volleyball tandem.
“She drove down to my house in California and I said, ‘Why don’t you just try it? Either you like it or you don’t,’ ” May said.
Together, May and Walsh became the most dominant team in the sport, winning gold medals at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and London 2012 Olympic Games. Along the way, May-Treanor (she married baseball player Matt Treanor in 2004) made sure to remember her roots; she would often sign autographs and take pictures with as every fan wanting one.
“You never know what conversation will change somebody’s life,” she said.