Two-time Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor will return next weekend to the domestic beach volleyball tour, where she will be reunited with teammate Kerri Walsh.
May-Treanor, who injured her Achilles' tendon while practicing for "Dancing with the Stars" last October, will join Walsh for the Sept. 25-27 AVP World Challenge in Glendale, Ariz. It will be their first competition together in 2009, though they did team up to play Shaquille O'Neal for an episode of the television show "Shaq Vs."
"It's hard to believe it has been an entire year since I last played on tour," May-Treanor said. "I've been working hard to get back into shape after the injury and I think it will be a lot of fun getting back on the sand and playing with Kerri in this unique event."
Walsh sat out most of the AVP season after having a baby in the spring. She returned last month and has been playing mostly with Rachel Wacholder, who was also without a partner after taking time off to have a baby.
"I'm so excited to play with Misty again," Walsh said. "I know she's been training on her own and I think we're going to find our rhythm really quickly. I couldn't ask for a better partner for this event, and her decision to play with me means so much."
They won their second straight Olympic gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.
"We have such a special relationship and I think that will really show on the court," Walsh said.
The World Challenge pits the top teams from the United States and Brazil, the world's top two beach volleyball powers, against each other. May-Treanor and Walsh are the most successful women in beach volleyball history, and their presence bolsters the Americans' chances of claiming the bragging rights to the beach.
The $200,000 World Challenge is a Ryder Cup-style round-robin tournament in which each match features a United States team against a Brazilian team. Those with the best records in pool play will face off in the gold and bronze medal matches.
The competition also will feature Olympic men's champions Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser and American Olympians Sean Rosenthal and Jake Gibb. Beijing silver medalists Fabio and Marcio will be among the Brazilian teams, along with '04 Olympic gold medalists and '08 bronze medalists Ricardo and Emanuel.
The U.S. women include 2008 Olympians Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs and '09 World Champions Jennifer Kessy and April Ross. Included on the Brazilian women's team is 2000 and '04 Olympic silver medalist Shelda Bede.