LONDON (Reuters) - After having her cake in Athens and icing it in Beijing, beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor wants to drizzle on the topping when she and Kerri Walsh launch their quest for an unprecedented third Olympic gold in London.
“In Athens I felt like, okay, I’ve accomplished everything I set out to do,” the 34-year-old American told reporters in London on Wednesday.
“Beijing, for me personally, I took the blinders off, enjoyed my time with my family and my friends and it was like, okay, this is the icing on the cake.”
Winning gold in London would finish the dessert off perfectly.
“For me this is the little condiments,” she added. “This is my hot chocolate, my chocolate sauce.”
May-Treanor and Walsh, 33, are the only pair to have won gold twice since beach volleyball made its Olympic debut in Atlanta in 1996. They are among the favourites in London, their main rivals being the top pairs from Brazil and China.
“Kerri and I, we want obviously to go for number three, nobody’s done it before,” May-Treanor said.
“For me, this is my last Olympics so I‘m going to enjoy the journey, every practise, every time I‘m on the sand. I‘m going to take everything in.”
A third gold would be a feat by any measure, particularly given what the two Americans have experienced since Beijing.
In the two years they spent apart to pursue other interests, May-Treanor injured her Achilles tendon rehearsing for the television show “Dancing With The Stars”, while Walsh gave birth to two sons less than a year apart.
The pair re-united in 2011 and soon returned to their winning ways, although they lost the final of last year’s world championships to Brazilians Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca.
The Brazilians made it clear on Monday they were itching for a chance to defeat the Americans again, this time on Olympic sand. “My biggest dream is to be in the final against them,” said Felisberta.
Asked to respond on Wednesday, May-Treanor showed she had lost none of her competitive spirit.
“I have a dream that I beat her in the Olympic final,” she said.
Before that, May-Treanor and Walsh will be facing one of their oldest rivals -- Natalie Cook of Australia.
Cook, 37, won bronze in Atlanta and gold in Sydney with then partner Kerri Pottharst. She is the first Australian woman athlete, and the only beach volleyball player of either gender, to compete in five consecutive Games.
May-Treanor and Walsh have been drawn against Cook and her team mate Tamsin Hinchley for their first match on July 28.
“I’ve been playing against Natalie ... I mean, I remember her with long hair,” said May-Treanor, reminiscing about long-gone days before Cook adopted her signature spiky blond crop.
“She’s always been a true competitor. She’s fun to play against. She’s very feisty. Her and Tamsin have been playing better and better throughout the year. We’re looking forward to facing her on the first night.”
After all the fun is over though, May-Treanor is ready for something different. Asked whether she intended to compete in the 2016 Games in Rio, May-Treanor could not have been clearer.
“No, I don‘t. Maybe as a spectator, or I can be a samba dancer on centre court. This is my last tournament. I‘m done after August 8. Time to move on.”
Editing by Nick Mulvenney