If volleyball champion Misty May Treanor and her teammate Kerri Walsh appear to be relentless, it may be because their coach taught them that every game is a close call. Their coach is also the father to Misty May.
It might be argued that Misty May Treanor had a bit of an advantage going into her Olympic career, largely because her father is a former Olympian and has been coaching her for years. Butch May competed in indoor volleyball during the 1968 Olympics.
Since his retirement with a 7th place finish, he has dedicated much of his time to ensuring that his daughter will come out on top. Walsh has been described as "relentless and pitiless" by USA Today.
He "thought that 21-1 was a close game," the news site reported. Misty's fellow teammate is likely to agree that Butch can be tough.
"I played Misty when she was hurt," Walsh told USA, "and he said, 'You serve her every ball.'"
It would appear now that Butch May's training approach has been effective. Both girls appear set on a winning streak and have managed to turn their sand pit into a wrecking field.
"We want to crush everybody," Walsh said. "We don't care where they're from."
So far, the girls aren't that far away from their mission. Walsh and May-Treanor beat Italy 21-13 on Sunday in the semi-final round. Next up they will have to face Beijing bronze medalists Xue Chen and Zhang Xi, but that doesn't sound too intimidating to the 2-time gold medalist team despite their show of weakness early on. The pair lost a number of games before the Olympic competition began.
"I think we're a different team. We sold the old team, and we bought a new team," May-Treanor tells USA.
And this team is fierce. They don't give a moment of peace to the competition, according to Walsh.
"I don't want to let our opponents breathe. I don't want to give them an edge," she said after the Sunday victory. "I don't want them to feel comfortable for one second out there."