Walsh, May-Treanor want gold medal, bundle of joy

Aug. 12, 2008, 9:10 p.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor are planning to go from barefoot to pregnant.

The beach volleyball teammates intend to take some time off after the Olympics and start families with their husbands, a move they've delayed so they can compete in Beijing and go for their second straight gold medal.

"Misty and I absolutely want to win a gold medal and then start a family," Walsh said Tuesday after the Athens Olympic champions improved to 2-0 in the Beijing opening round with a straight sets victory over Cuba. "I have so much love to give, and I just want to share it."

As partners on the professional beach volleyball tour, Walsh and May-Treanor spend a lot of time together during the season, a sisterhood that gives them a sense of kinship but doesn't quite satisfy all of their familial yearnings.

They're like family. But they're not really family.

"I've been ready forever," Walsh said. "I thought I'd have like three babies by now."

Having kids - and taking time off to raise them - could create an opening in 2009 on the medal stands of the domestic and international tours they've dominated. But it could also leave Walsh looking for a new partner because she wants to bring her yet-unconceived baby on the road, and May-Treanor does not.

"I think you've got to have your feet grounded," May-Treanor said, referring to a travel schedule that would, for example, take them from Poland to Brazil to Dubai to Thailand if they chose to play in the last four events after the Olympics this season.

May-Treanor is married to Florida Marlins catcher Matt Treanor, meaning they already see little of each other during the summer because they're both in-season at the same time. Having time off to be with her husband would be an adjustment, she joked.

"I don't know what we'd do," she said. "It would be like, 'Get in the other room. Let's talk on the computer.'"

Back in the United States, where he was getting Olympic updates from clubhouse workers and bullpen cops, Treanor said his wife had not made a decision on her playing career.

"My wife is pretty impromptu," he said before the Marlins' game against the St. Louis Cardinals. "Its a spur-of-the-moment type of thing."

Walsh is married to pro beach volleyball player Casey Jennings, so they are already able to mix their work and home lives. Walsh points to other women's beach volleyball players who have continued to play while raising kids, including two-time Olympic medalist Kerri Pottharst and current Olympian Ana Paula.

"They've balanced it," Walsh said. "I love my job. I love my lifestyle. I'm offering my unlimited babysitting services (to May-Treanor)."

Walsh turns 30 on Friday, but she says it's not the ticking of a biological clock that makes her want to have kids. She has always been eager to become a mother, she said, a feeling intensified because her brother has twins and another baby on the way.

"So I'm jealous," she said.

Jennings and his partner Matt Feurbringer were the No. 3 American team in Olympic qualifying - 16th on the world list for the 24-team field. But federation rules limit each country to no more than two teams, so they missed the cut.

Jennings has been back home in California, with plans to join his wife on Thursday before the medal round gets going. This week, Walsh said, she got a message from him saying, "Babe, I'm so excited for you to accomplish one dream in Beijing and then we can start on a new dream."

Walsh said she and Jennings considered trying to have a baby in 2006, which might have allowed her enough time to get back for Beijing.

"In retrospect," she said, "it just didn't make any sense to try to squeeze one out between Olympics."

Walsh and May-Treanor virtually assured themselves of a spot in the medal round with a 21-15, 21-16 victory over Dalixia Fernandez Grasset and Tamara Larrea - their 103rd consecutive win. The Cubans, ninth-place finishers in both Athens and Sydney, fell to 1-1.

In other action on Tuesday morning Efthalia Koutroumanidou and Maria Tsiartsiani of Greece defeated Judith Augoustides and Vitalina Nel of South Africa, 21-12, 21-8; Norway's Nila Haakedal and Ingrid Toerlen beat Mika Saiki and Chiaki Kusuhara of Japan 21-8, 21-18; and Bibiana Candelas and Mayra Garcia of Mexico beat Vassiliki Arvaniti and Vasso Karantasiou of Greece 21-17, 16-21, 15-12.

On the men's side, Wu Penggen and Xu Linyin of China survived a scare by Estonians Kristjan Kais and Rivo Vesik to win 15-21, 21-11, 15-13; Clemens Doppler and Peter Gartmayer of Austria upset Brazilians Marcio and Fabio 20-22, 21-19, 15-11.