Volleyball legend and three-time Gold Medalist, Karch Kiraly is synonymous with the sport of Pro Beach Volleyball.
The ‘winningest’ player in the history of the sport, Karch Kiraly is considered the “Michael Jordan” of pro beach volleyball as he is the oldest player to compete in the sport and continues to perform at the highest level — beating competitors literally half his age.
He has won at least one tournament in 24 of the 28 seasons he has played, spanning four different decades. He has claimed a title in 24 different states with 13 different partners. In domestic events, he has finished lower than ninth place only four times and has been in the semifinals over 80% of the time.
Kiraly and partner Mike Lambert were named 2004 AVP Team of the Year after capturing three titles, then won in Huntington Beach in 2005 to give him win number 148. Kiraly finished the 2005 season ranked fourth on the Tour in both kills (1,243) and digs (805).
Kiraly is the only volleyball player in Olympic history to win three Gold medals, having been part of theUnited States’ Gold Medal indoor teams in 1984 and 1988, and winning the Gold Medal in beach volleyball at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games with Kent Steffes.
Kiraly grew up in Santa Barbara and learned the sport of beach volleyball from his father, Dr. Laszlo Kiraly. He graduated from high school third in his class with a 3.96 grade-point average.
Kiraly currently resides in San Clemente, California with his wife Janna and his two sons Kristian and Kory.
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“I could see the fear in their eyes, nobody wanted to lose to an 11-year old kid. It was incredibly empowering for me.”
In This Episode:
- How his father fell in love with volleyball
- Why his father wouldn’t shrink and stayed true to himself
- Huge advantage he got playing volleyball while he was young
- Staying toe-to-toe with older players
- Why it was always about getting better
- Getting engrossed in mastery
- The word that describes him the best
- How pushing hard and making mistakes correlate
- Three things that were big for him while he competed as a player
- State of mind he loved operating in while playing
- His vision as a coach