Three-time Olympic champion Misty May-Treanor may have retired from international beach volleyball competition, but that doesn't mean fans will never see May-Treanor playing volleyball again.
While speaking from New York City on behalf of Abreva, May-Treanor said fans can definitely expect her to play domestic competitions for fun in the future. She has not yet decided on any specific tournaments, she said.
The Beach Volleyball Career of Misty May-Treanor
May-Treanor became a household name when she and teammate Holly McPeak qualified for and finished fifth at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. At the time, McPeak was considered to be the best female American beach volleyball player in history.
May-Treanor played the 2000 Olympic Games with an abdominal injury, and even though she and McPeak failed to medal, May-Treanor still considers her first Olympic Games to be among her greatest accomplishments.
"Qualifying for the Sydney Games with Holly McPeak was a highlight (of my career)," May-Treanor told me on Dec. 5.
It didn't take long for May-Treanor to surpass McPeak in both consecutive wins and earnings, and today many would argue May-Treanor to be the best female beach volleyball player in history.
May-Treanor was able to become so successful while playing 11 seasons with teammate Kerri Walsh. During their time together, May-Treanor amassed a winning streak of 112 straight matches. May-Treanor never would have become so successful without the help of Walsh, she said.
"Together as as team we know each other inside and out, and that definitely gave us more points heading into a match," May-Treanor told me on Dec. 5.
May-Treanor and Walsh Team Up for Olympic Success
Shortly after the 2000 beach volleyball season, May-Treanor teamed up with Walsh in a partnership that would change beach volleyball history forever. The two played together on the FIVB and AVP tours in the years between the time they became a team and played for their first Olympic medal.
When May-Treanor and Walsh arrived in Athens for the 2004 Olympic Games, they carried a win streak of 90 matches, and the two didn't plan on changing their ways anytime soon. By the time the 2004 Games had concluded, May-Treanor and Walsh had earned the right to call themselves Olympic champions.
Four years later, the pair again headed into the Olympic Games as the favorite for gold, and once again, the duo did not disappoint. In winning the gold medal, May-Treanor and Walsh became the first beach volleyball pair to defend their Olympic gold medal.
Throughout the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, May-Treanor and Walsh won every single match they played.
After the 2008 Olympic Games, May-Treanor and Walsh split up for a while as May-Treanor recovered from a ruptured achilles injury, which she sustained while competing on "Dancing With the Stars." During the same timeframe, Walsh took a break from the sport to become a mother to two boys.
The two teamed back up before the 2012 Olympic Games, though, where May-Treanor and Walsh attempted to do something no team had every done before: win three consecutive Olympic beach volleyball gold medals.
Things were a bit different for the 2012 Games, though, as May-Treanor and Walsh were not the favorites heading into London.
The lack of confidence from doubters simply made winning gold that much sweeter, May-Treanor said.
"These London Games were really special because we weren't the heavy favorites heading into the Games," May-Treanor told me. "There were a lot of people that doubted that we would be able to repeat, but we never doubted ourselves, so this was one of the sweeter victories."
May-Treanor Retires From International Beach Volleyball
Shortly after winning gold in London, May-Treanor confirmed that she would retire from international beach volleyball. At 35, May-Treanor seemed to have done it all -- she'd won the most consecutive matches, earned more money than any other female beach volleyball player, and she'd been part of a team that won more Olympic gold medals than any other team in beach volleyball history.
In fact, the last accomplishment was so significant that May-Treanor questioned whether anyone would ever be able to do it again.
"Being able to do something that no other team has been able to do or probably will ever do, I think we put more stress on ourselves than anybody from the outside," May-Treanor said.
Since the Olympic Games, May-Treanor has stepped away from the stress of playing and achieving at a high level, but that doesn't mean that fans will never see her on the sand again, she said.
"I'm not done. I'm going to continue to play for fun," May-Treanor said. "I'm not stepping off the court where I'm going to stop playing, but I'm not going to travel internationally."
When she's not competing, May-Treanor plans to finish her master's degree -- she'll graduate with a coaching and athletic administration degree later this month -- and reinstate some of her clinics. She also plans to continue to build relationships with sponsors, including Abreva, she said.
May-Treanor has no plans to step out of the public eye anytime soon, and while fans will continue to follow the beach volleyball queen, there's one place everyone will be looking for her: back on the beach volleyball court.
Sandra Johnson is a longtime Olympic fan. While working for the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, she had the opportunity to live in the Olympic Training Center alongside some of the amateur boxers. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46