With less than 80 days until athletes start their journey in the London Olympics, it’s full-blown red, white and blue love here in the office. So when the opportunity to chat with three-time Olympian Misty May-Treanor arose, we simply couldn’t say no (and who would want to?). May-Treanor is working with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America on the Ditch the Drip campaign, educating allergy sufferers around the globe on how to get (and stay!) healthy when pollen season kicks into high gear. An allergy-sufferer herself, May-Treanor has learned to pay attention to her environment, both on and off the court, to make sure her performance is always top notch.
We caught up with the beach volleyball pro, who is teammates with Kerri Walsh, about how she fights those pesky allergies and what she’s most looking forward to about this year’s Olympic Games.
Suffering from allergies when your job is to play a sport outdoors must be challenging. How do you deal with it all?
It’s really important that I take preventative measures. As I was getting older, I finally realized that every time the pollen picks up I would start to get all of the usual symptoms—a lot of sneezing, runny eyes and nose, etc. I’m traveling to a lot of different environments for work, so now I make sure that I’m prepared beforehand.
What type of preventative measures do you take?
I’ll take medicine if necessary and that will clear it up. But beforehand, I look more at the climate. If it’s going to be a problem, then I make an appointment with the doctor to make sure I’m taking any steps possible to make sure I won’t be affected drastically.
How do you feel going into the Olympics? Do you feel like a high standard has been set, or do you feel more relaxed?
Kerri might tell you differently, but we’ve proven the type of players and team that we are, so I don’t feel like we have anything to prove. But at the same time, we set our own standards high because we want to be the best. We put so much pressure on ourselves to excel because we want to be the players that we know that we know we can be.
What are you most looking forward to?
The opening ceremonies are always great. I love seeing the energy and all of the different countries that are involved. The different outfits are a lot of fun to see too because you’re surrounded by so many different walks of life.
What are you hoping to do while you’re there, other than win in your sport?
I’m hoping to sit down and have tea with the queen, but I hear that everyone else wants that too [laughs]. I’d love to wave to Prince William and Kate. But seriously, I’ve never been there so I think it’d be so much fun to go to different pubs and go to different sporting events for stuff that they excel at. But mostly, I really just want to win that gold medal around my neck.
How do you balance your family, social life and all of the training that goes into prepping for the Olympics?
My husband taught me that “no” is not a bad word. He’s taught me to say no because it gives more time for us. I just try not to shove too much into one day. Family is number one, so I try to remind myself of that when things get a little crazy.
Are you super-conscious of your body because of your, um, uniform?
There are times I’m aware of it. I tend to carry my weight in my hips and I’m more of the muscle-bound player while Kerri is very lean and tall. But my goal is to be a role model for young girls out there and remind them that it’s OK to be different. I look in the mirror every day and I’m happy with myself. I can get stronger and work harder, sure, but you just have to happy with the skin you’re in.
How do you always stay so positive?
Things happen in life and we don’t know why they happen. I always try to remember that it’s not “why me?” but “how am I going to overcome this?” If you look at things in a different light, then it’s just another challenge being thrown your way and you have to figure out how to get past it. Turning the negatives into positives makes life a lot easier.
Now you tell us: What are you most looking forward to about the Olympics?