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Hansen setting example

Volleyball

Though CdM High alum likely won't represent U.S. in second straight Olympics, he remains loyal.

June 20, 2012|By Barry Faulkner
(Kent Treptow )

While some might describe Kevin Hansen's extended summer in Orange County as being left behind, the U.S. national team veteran chooses to focus on a men's volleyball career that has taken him along for a long, meaningful ride.

Hansen, who is now third on the depth chart at setter, expects to be left off the 12-man Team USA roster for the Olympic Games in London that begin July 27. It would be a significant blow to the Corona del Mar High product, who was a backup on the gold medal-winning squad at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

But with 17 seasons in the sport, beginning as a seventh grader with the Balboa Bay Volleyball Club, continuing at Corona del Mar High and Stanford, now eight years with the national team, as well as numerous stops on a lucrative professional career in Europe, Hansen is determined to enjoy the last of his time on the court.

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"I'm nearing the end of my career," Hansen said after a training session this week at USA Volleyball headquarters in Anaheim. "At this point, I'm playing it season-by-season and day-by-day. But I'm still loving the game. As far as the Olympics go, it's not looking good for me. They have two setters who are playing very well in Donald Suxho and Brian Thornton [a former UC Irvine All-American]. But I'm still working hard and there is a month left before the team leaves for London. Anything can happen and I've got to be ready to go if need be."

Hansen, who lives in Costa Mesa with his wife Sarah and one-year-old daughter Avery, said it would be very difficult to remain training in Anaheim while his teammates, many of whom are good friends, try to defend the gold medal on the sport's biggest stage.

"It was wonderful having that success in Beijing," Hansen said. "You can't get any better than that. I was obviously hoping to repeat and to be a big part of this team. But I'm happy for the guys and I'm not going to be immature about it. Obviously, it hurts, but everyone has adversity in their work that can mean missing out on things. But having reached that [Olympic] success makes it a lot easier if I have to miss out."

Hansen, 30, hasn't missed many chances to shine in a sport that played second fiddle to basketball in high school.

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