She’s the most successful women’s beach volleyball player ever and Misty May-Treanor wants to exit the game on top. She did exactly that as not too long after winning her third career gold medal, May-Treanor announced she is leaving the sport of beach volleyball and is, as of today, officially retired.
“This is my last match,” she said. “Beach volleyball’s not going to be my career anymore. … It’s time for me to be a wife. I want to be a mom and share time with my family. All of us as athletes sacrifice more on the family end than people realize. And it’s getting back to that. My mind says it’s time. My body says it’s time. And it’s the right time.”
She leaves behind the what is recognized as the most successful career a woman has ever had in her sport as she boasts an amazing 112 win in both international and domestic competitions. But she feels that going out with not only a gold medal but her third straight gold medal, is the storybook ending to her career that she wants.
“Winning the first gold medal, we were young, sweet, we did it. Winning back-to-back medals is very difficult. To go for a three-peat – I don’t know if you could write the script the way it turned out. But we believed,” May-Treanor said Wednesday.
May-Treanor wants the world to know that even though it will never again see the talent of herself and longtime partner Kerri Walsh Jennings together, their partnership is far from over. Walsh Jennings reflected on her 11 year partnership with someone she calls her best friend.
“I’m just proud to finish the journey with Misty how we finished it. It’s been 11 years of really fun and crazy times. She’s the best there ever has been,” Walsh Jennings said. “We’re so close and connected. Our competitive journey is done, that’s a big deal. That crushes me a little bit. But the next stage is going to be fun. We’re going to get to be girlfriends. … It makes it really bittersweet.”
But the story will remain May-Treanor leaving her illustrious career behind her in Micheal Jordan-like fashion. In addition to her three Olympic golds, May-Treanor has four additional medals from the World Championships including three more golds and a silver. Her accolades don’t end with medals either. For seven consecutive years, May-Treanor was named the AVP Best Defensive Player form 2002-2008 and was the AVP Best Offensive Player for an entire decade beginning in 1998.
To put May-Treanor’s career in as simple a nutshell as possible just look at this stat: ending in 2008, every year since her freshman year of college at Long Beach State in 1995 Misty May-Treanor has won some sort of award.
The only years she wasn’t winning awards, she was recovering from surgery and therefore not playing.
With May-Treanor calling it career, just calling it a career doesn’t seem to do her justice. It’s a pioneering legacy that she’s leaving behind, one that will go down with other great legacies of sporting heroes across sports and across genders. The world of sports is losing one of it’s brightest stars with the retirement of Misty May-Treanor, but she’s leaving on her terms with her youth and her health and she’s leaving the game while she’s literally on top of the world.
And there’s no better way to end a career then capping it all off with a third consecutive gold medal.