Misty May-Treanor and teammate Kerri Walsh Jennings were gold medalists in beach volleyball at the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Summer Olympics.
May-Treanor retired from competitive play on August 8, 2012 after she and Walsh Jennings finished first in the 2012 Summer Olympic games; they defeated the United States team of Jennifer Kessy and April Ross in the gold medal match.
Misty May was born in 1977 in Los Angeles to Barbara (née Grubb), a nationally ranked tennis player, and Butch May, a member of the 1968 United States men's national volleyball team. She has a brother, Brack, who is a chef and featured on an episode of Chopped on the Food Network. Her mother's sister, Betty, is a former professional tennis player, and thus making Misty a first cousin to professional tennis player Taylor Dent. She grew up playing beach volleyball with her parents at the Santa Monica Pier, and at age 8 teamed with her father to play in her first beach volleyball tournament. She was baby-sat by Karch Kiraly. May also played soccer and tennis, as well as participating in dance. She attended primary school at Brightwood Elementary School in Monterey Park and Roosevelt Elementary School in Santa Monica.
May grew up in Costa Mesa, California, attending Newport Harbor High School from 1991 through 1995. She helped her team win the state championship in volleyball in both her sophomore and senior years, 1992 and 1994. During her junior year in 1993 she was named the Division I All-CIF team Player of the Year, and the following year she was selected by USA Today as the best high school girls' volleyball player in the nation. While at Newport Harbor High she also competed in track and field, excelling in the high jump. At the CIF California State Meet in 1993 she finished second in the high jump to future heptathlete Tracye Lawyer.
May played volleyball for the Long Beach State 49ers from 1995 to 1999. The 1998 team that May captained was the first women's NCAA volleyball team to have an undefeated season. She graduated with a BA in kinesiology/fitness in 2002 and was inducted into the Long Beach State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.
During her tenure there, she racked up numerous Big West Conference and NCAA awards and honors, including the Honda-Broderick Cup for 1998–99, and back-to-back Player of the Year awards in 1997 and 1998.
May attended Concordia University Irvine for her master's degree. She earned a master's degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration; her degree was conferred on May 4, 2013 in Irvine, California.
As the starting setter in 1998, Misty May led the Long Beach State 49ers to a Division I NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship with a 36–0 record. She shared the NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player award after setting a tournament record with 20 service aces.
May played her first professional match on the AVP tour in May 1999 while still a college senior. After graduating from Long Beach State in 1999, she joined the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team. After a few months she quit the national team to focus on beach volleyball, teaming with Holly McPeak.
The pair played their first tournament together on the FIVB tour in Salvador, Brazil in November 1999. Seeded 22nd, McPeak/May finished 9th.
The 2000 season saw the team of May and McPeak find success, both in domestic and international competitions. They won their first tournament together in April at a USAV event, followed by two wins on the FIVB tour, and one on the now-defunct BVA. May was selected as the BVA Rookie of the Year for 2000. With three FIVB tournament wins and no finishes lower than 5th, the pair qualified for one of the two US Olympic berths, a goal McPeak was looking for when she first partnered with May. At the 2000 Summer Olympics the pair won in the opening round and in the round of 16, but then lost in the quarterfinals, earning them a 5th place at the Sydney games.
After completing the 2000 season with McPeak, May's volleyball destiny unfolded after she teamed up with a new partner, Kerri Walsh. Rather than play on the newly reformed AVP tour, the duo spent the 2001 and 2002 seasons gaining valuable experience competing on the international FIVB tour. They won their first FIVB tour championship in 2002. In 2003, May and Walsh signed with the AVP. They received "Team of the Year" honors after having an undefeated season, going 39–0 in match victories with eight tournament wins.
For nearly the entire period from their initial partnering in 2001, to their respective hiatuses in late 2008, May-Treanor and Walsh dominated both the AVP and FIVB beach volleyball tours. Before the start of the 2008 Olympics, they were riding a win streak of 101 matches and 18 tournaments that began in June 2007.
Following their gold medal victory at the Beijing Olympics, May-Treanor and Walsh returned to the 2008 AVP Tour. Their win streak of 112 matches was broken with an upset victory by fellow 2008 Olympians Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs at the AVP Shootout in Cincinnati, Ohio. May-Treanor and Walsh lost again on September 7, falling to April Ross and Jennifer Kessy in the semifinals of an AVP tournament in Santa Barbara, California, marking the first time since April 2007 that the duo missed reaching an AVP tour final.
For the 2010 season, with Walsh taking a break from competition for the birth of her second son, May-Treanor teamed up with Branagh. The two won several tournaments together, but struggled for much of the year.
May-Treanor played much of her 2002 season with a torn PCL before undergoing surgery that September.
Soon after winning her gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, May-Treanor ruptured her achilles tendon during dance practice for a performance on the show Dancing with the Stars. It was successfully repaired, though she did not return to competition for nearly a year.
May-Treanor was a member of the women's volleyball coaching staff at Irvine Valley College beginning in 2001, though she is no longer listed as a staff member. IVC head coach, Tom Pestolesi, was her high school volleyball coach.
As of July 2016, she serves as the Director of Volleyball at Long Beach City College where she will also coach the school's women indoor and beach volleyball teams.
Hobbled by an abdominal injury in her first Olympics, May finished fifth with partner Holly McPeak in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Riding a 90-match win streak, May and Walsh continued their winning ways through the 2004 Summer Olympics. In semifinal play, the pair defeated fellow Americans — and May's former partner — Holly McPeak and partner Elaine Youngs. May and Walsh defeated Brazil in the championship match to win the gold medal. The duo did not lose a single set in all seven matches.
On August 21, May-Treanor and Walsh repeated as Olympic gold medalists, defeating the first-seeded Chinese team in two games. They are the only beach volleyball team to repeat as gold medalists. May-Treanor was named the Most Outstanding Player for the women’s competition.
May-Treanor and Walsh competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. In the preliminary round, they extended their Olympic winning streak to 32 consecutive sets without a loss with wins over Australia and the Czech Republic. The streak came to an end when they lost their first set to the Schwaiger sisters from Austria; May-Treanor and Walsh went on to win the match 17–21, 21–8, 15–10. May-Treanor and Walsh defeated fellow Americans April Ross and Jennifer Kessy in the final to claim the gold medal (21–16, 21–16).
May began dating baseball player Matt Treanor in January 2004. The two wed in November of that year. She and her husband reside in Coral Springs, Florida. They also own a home in Long Beach, California. On June 3, 2014, in Long Beach, May-Treanor gave birth to a daughter, Malia Barbara.
May-Treanor has two brothers, Brack and Scott. Brack is a chef and competed on the Food Network show Chopped. Her first cousin is former professional tennis player Taylor Dent. She attended Concordia University in Irvine, California to earn a master's degree in coaching and athletic administration. She serves as a Sports Ambassador for Special Olympics Southern California and served on the group's Board of Governors.
In her autobiography May-Treanor stated her childhood was unstable. She asserted both of her parents were alcoholics. During times when her parents were drinking, they might leave May-Treanor by herself for hours. She stated she would often play video games in bars while waiting for her parents. She also asserted her mother would at times become violent when drinking. From the age of 4 to 15, she lived with her grandparents. In 1988, her father committed to living his life sober after an automobile accident in which he struck and nearly killed a motorcyclist. May-Treanor's autobiography also revealed she had been sexually assaulted while in college. She pressed charges against her assailant and testified at trial.
A tattoo on May-Treanor's shoulder of an angel with the initials "B.M." is a dedication to her mother, who died of cancer in 2002.
May-Treanor, just prior to teaming with Kerri Walsh-Jennings for a third straight gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, announced that she was retiring from beach volleyball. She confirmed this shortly after the Olympics victory.
May-Treanor completed her Graduate Degree with Concordia University Irvine and received a Masters in Coaching and Athletic Administration.
May-Treanor's honors in the Big West Conference include:Big West Conference Freshman of the Year 1995
All-Big West First Team (4): 1995–1998
Big West Player of the Year (3): 1996–1998
Big West Player of the Week – 6 times
NCAA Division I First Team All-American 1997, 1998
American Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Year 1997, 1998
Honda-Broderick Cup 1998–99
Masters in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia University Irvine.
AVP Best Defensive Player (7): 2002–2008
AVP Best Offensive Player (11): 1998–2008
AVP Crocs Cup Champion (3): 2006–2008 (all with Kerri Walsh)
AVP Most Valuable Player (4): 2005–2008
AVP Team of the Year (6): 2003–2008 (all with Kerri Walsh)
FIVB Best Defensive Player (2): 2007–2008
FIVB Best Offensive Player (3): 2005, 2007–2008
FIVB Best Setter (1): 2005
FIVB Most Outstanding (2): 2005, 2008
FIVB Sportsperson (2): 2007, 2008
FIVB Tour Champion (1): 2002 (Kerri Walsh)
BVA Rookie of the Year 2000
Most women's career tournament victories: 112
Most women's career earnings: $2,132,733
Most women's international career wins: 43
2004 and 2006 – Sportswoman of the Year Award (with Kerri Walsh)
May-Treanor has made numerous minor television appearances, including Dancing with the Stars, episodes of CSI: Miami, Wizards of Waverly Place, and the Late Show with David Letterman.
In 2008, she competed in Dancing with the Stars (U.S. season 7) with partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy. May-Treanor ruptured her Achilles tendon during a training session for the show, and was consequently forced to withdraw from the competition.
Following the 2008 Olympics, May-Treanor appeared in an episode of the Disney series Wizards of Waverly Place. On August 14, 2012 she appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
May-Treanor appeared alongside Jennifer Kessy in the Season 9 episode of Hell's Kitchen as chef's table guest in the red kitchen.