The U.S. beach volleyball teams have had their downs and ups since winning both the men’s and women’s gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
After winning their second Olympic gold medal in Beijing, the women’s team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh split up. May-Treanor participated on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and suffered a ruptured achilles tendon while practicing for the show. Walsh gave birth to her first son in May 2009. The team came together briefly at the end of that summer for a USA versus Brazil tournament that was put together by the AVP, the United States’ premier domestic beach volleyball tour at the time.
However, shortly after that, Walsh announced she was pregnant with her second child and gave birth to a second son in May 2010. May-Treanor played the 2010 season with U.S. Olympian Nicole Branagh. On Aug. 13, 2010, the AVP ceased operations for financial reasons, leaving U.S. beach volleyball teams scrambling for opportunities to play. May-Treanor finished out the international tour with Branagh in August. The pair never finished better than third internationally.
Branagh played the final two international events with Walsh, finishing fifth and first. The pair announced that they would team up in 2011 as May-Treanor had indicated she was no longer interested in competing on the FIVB World Tour. However at the beginning of 2011, May-Treanor and Walsh made a surprise announcement that they would be playing together in 2011 in hopes of qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
After seven FIVB World Tour events in 2011, May-Treanor and Walsh have one first-place finish and two second places. They are the second-ranked U.S. team on the tour behind Jen Kessy and April Ross, who have one first-place finish, one second and three thirds. Behind them is the new U.S. women’s team of Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Hanson, whose best 2011 finish has been fourth place.
On the men’s side, 2008 gold medalists Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers had an amazing season in 2010, winning 75 of 86 matches on the FIVB World Tour as well as all 34 matches on the AVP Tour before it ceased operations. The team established a record for winnings by a men’s team in a single-season with $387,700. The duo was named the FIVB and USA Volleyball men’s beach team of the year.
The team got a strong start in the 2011 season, winning the first two tournaments and finishing second at the next. But Dalhausser suffered an ankle injury and the team went three tournaments without reaching the podium. Dalhausser and Rogers medaled again on July 10 with the silver in Gsaad, Switzerland.
Behind Dalhausser and Rogers are 2008 Olympians Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal, along with Matthew Fuerbringer and Nick Lucena.
- The AVP went bankrupt in August 2011 and a strong new domestic tour has yet to gain a foothold in the United States. How is that affecting the athletes as they have to compete overseas all summer?
- April Ross and Jen Kessy took over as the United States’ No. 1 women’s team while Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh were apart. Now the two teams are battling for that No. 1 slot.
- Kerri Walsh has had two children since the 2008 Olympic Games. Her husband is also a pro beach volleyball player. How do they make their family work with all the travel they must do over the summer?
- Misty May-Treanor is married to pro baseball player Matt Treanor, now playing for the Kansas City Royals. How do two professional athletes keep their marriage strong?
- April Ross married pro beach volleyball player Brad Keenan in 2010. How are the newlyweds doing their first year?
- Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers are still the No. 1 men’s team in the United States, but No. 2 is up for grabs. Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal, 2008 Olympians, are still fighting, but are losing ground to Matt Fuerbringer/Nick Lucena and Brad Keenan/Casey Patterson.
- Kerri Walsh
- Misty May-Treanor
- Phil Dalhausser
- Todd Rogers
- April Ross
- Jen Kessy
The selection procedures have yet to be formally announced.
Athlete Social Media
- April Ross - @beachproapril
- Misty May-Treanor - @mistymaytreanor
- Kerri Walsh - @kerrileewalsh
- Todd Rogers - @professortodd
- Jen Kessy - @jenniferkessy
B.J. Hoeptner Evans