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Misty plays with purpose

Olympics

Playing in her last Olympics, former Newport Harbor standout plans to reach another high point in her career.

April 26, 2012|By Steve Virgen
  • Misty May-Treanor, a former Newport Harbor High standout, is preparing for the London Olympics.
Misty May-Treanor, a former Newport Harbor High standout,… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

In 2002, Misty May-Treanor hit the lowest point in her career.

In a career filled with so many highs, there have been very few lows. When she was 24, she was down there. It didn't have so much to do with an injury or a missed opportunity.

May-Treanor said her mother's death caused her great pain and challenged her love for volleyball, she revealed in an exclusive interview with the Daily Pilot Thursday afternoon.

She was in Huntington Beach to promote a contest with Arnold/Brownberry/Oroweat bread. People can enter on the company's Facebook page. The winner receives a one-on-one clinic with May-Treanor.

The bread company is a supplier of U.S. Olympic teams and May-Treanor is one of their most popular athletes.

Back in 2002, May-Treanor was well-known, but not as popular as now. Back then she was on the cusp of legendary status. She had already won a national championship with Long Beach State and competed in the Sydney Olympics, where she finished fifth with Holly McPeak.

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Her world would never be the same later after her mother, Barbara, died of cancer.

May-Treanor said playing volleyball wore her down while dealing with her mother's passing.

"You start to resent your sport a bit," said May-Treanor, the former Newport Harbor High standout who lives in Long Beach with her husband Matt Treanor, a catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Playing volleyball kept her from dealing with Barbara's death, May-Treanor's father, Butch, said. He was also near the Huntington Beach Hyatt on Thursday to see his daughter's photo shoot.

May-Treanor and her father still think of Barbara often. Butch, 70, who lives in Costa Mesa, said he still has remaining ashes of her in an urn. May-Treanor sprinkled some of those ashes on the sand after winning gold in Athens in 2004 and again in 2008 in Beijing.

The plan is to do it once again in London, and she wants to do it with an unprecedented third gold medal with teammate Kerri Walsh.

"People might think it's weird, but it's not weird to me," May-Treanor said.

May-Treanor and Walsh are ranked No. 2 in the world.

May-Treanor, who is 34, confirmed these will be her last Olympics, so she would like to go out on top. With their No. 2 ranking, May-Treanor's injuries and recent reuniting, many believe the duo is not heading into these Olympics with as much momentum or the label of being favorites as in past Olympics.

May-Treanor doesn't concern herself about which team will be the favorite.

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