Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor coming to the Valley

Four-time Olympian Misty May-Treanor will be in the Valley to share her wisdom with the next generation of athletes.

May-Treanor will be appearing at Cavazos Sports Institute at 7 tonight to take young Valley athletes “Inside the mind of a champion” — the title of the event.

After the talk, May-Treanor will hold a meet and greet. Tickets are still available at CSITrain.com or by calling (956) 451-2017.

After a standout volleyball career at Long Beach State during which May-Treanor earned first-team All-American honors and a national player of the year award, she made her Olympic debut in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, where she competed in beach volleyball. An injury kept her and her partner, Holly McPeak, from achieving the heights they had hoped, but May-Treanor returned the next time around for the 2004 games in Athens with new partner Kerri Walsh, and the two proceeded to take over the sport. They won three straight Olympic gold medals and dominated the professional tour. The duo also won gold at the World Championships in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

Through her playing career, May-Treanor said she learned a lot and went through the ups and downs of being a professional athlete. Passing on the advice she has gained is her new passion. She now coaches volleyball at Long Beach City College.

“Both my parents were coaches, and I’ve always had a passion to coach and teach, so for me, there was always a plan B,” May-Treanor said. “That is why I think it is OK to have a couple passions, because you never know how long your athletic career is going to last.”

May-Treanor retired after the 2012 London Olympics.

“My time was my time,” she said. “It was time to step aside and let the next generation develop.

“These girls, I think, sometimes don’t realize how lucky they are,” she said. “The opportunities that are out there are incredible now. It took a lot of women to step over that threshold who were told so many times that they couldn’t.”

May-Treanor said she watched many tremendous female athletes cross barriers and break glass ceilings, which has motivated her to try to make a difference in any way she can.

“For Kerri and I, there was a lot that happened before us that allowed us to get to where we were,” May-Treanor said. “The road had been paved, and it was just our turn to continue the pathway. The girls of today’s generation are still carrying the torch that was passed to them, which is the same torch we were passed all those years ago.”

One of the biggest things May-Treanor credits with helping her become such a strong athlete is her ability to play multiple sports as a child.

“I am a big advocate for kids being kids and playing whatever sports make them happy,” May-Treanor said. “I think everyone wants to specialize so early, but I actually think it is a disservice to the athletes. As a coach, I can tell you, that you can tell the kids who play multiple sports. You see it in their movement. You see it in their body mechanics.”

Another piece of advice from one of the greatest female athletes of all time:

“Rest is really important.”

“You don’t want to overuse your body,” she added. “It’s also important to monitor what they are feeding their bodies with. You have to eat clean to let your body build muscle. If you don’t fuel your body correctly, it won’t be able to perform when you need it to.”

May-Treanor said she never got into the sport for any of the accolades. She doesn’t know her win total off the top of her head. She never set out to win certain awards. She played volleyball for 13 years because she loved it and because she realized she could make a difference with her fame and excellence.

“I share those medals — and I am bringing them with me to McAllen — because they are a symbol of everyone that has had an impact on Kerri and I,” May-Treanor said. “That means everyone from the fans cheering, to the coaches, to the people who supported us in tough times, to the doctors who got us healthy enough to play. Really, if I could split the medals up and give them to everyone, they really belong to everyone. We are just the medium that is able to go out there and perform.”