American collegiate coach aspires to make 2020 Olympics

Los Angeles, USA, April 3, 2019 - Betsi Flint today is more concerned today about being an assistant beach volleyball coach at Loyola Marymount, but in three weeks she'll be competing internationally with Emily Day in China to earn qualifying points for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

With qualifying for the Tokyo Summer Games starting last September and continuing this month with an event April 24-28 in Xiamen, China, Flint and Day have compiled 2,180 points towards qualifying for the 2020 Olympics to rank as the top American women's team on the provisional list and No. 2 overall behind Brazilians Rebecca Cavalcanti/Ana Patricia Silva (2,680).

Betsi Flint (right) and Emily Day netted 540 Olympic qualifying points on March 10 by placing second at the Sydney Open in Australia

The top 15 teams per gender on the FIVB Olympic qualifying list on June 15, 2020 with a maximum of two per nation will earn spots for their country at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games. The other nine spots in the 24-team Tokyo field go to pairs from the host country (one) and winners of each FIVB confederation’s Continental Cup (five), the 2019 FIVB world champions (one) in July in Hamburg, Germany, and the 2019 FIVB Qualification Tournament winners (two) in September at Haiyang, China.

In an article Tuesday in The Los Angeles Loyolan, a student newspaper on the campus of Loyola Marymount University, Sports Editor Miles Thomas wrote that "Flint’s love for volleyball is her driving force in her goal of making history. While the on-campus beach volleyball team (17-7 record) continues their quest for a championship this season, assistant coach Flint is working towards participating in next summer’s 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

"Flint grew up in South Dakota, where she played basketball before falling in love with volleyball. She went on to play volleyball at Desert Vista High School in Arizona and then found herself at LMU for her college career, playing both indoor and beach volleyball.

"At LMU, she would graduate as she finished as the school’s all-time leader in total digs and aces in indoor volleyball. For beach volleyball, a sport that did not exist at LMU during her freshman year, Flint played three seasons for the Lions, twice becoming an American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American selection.

"Following her standout career with the Lions, she was approached by former indoor and beach volleyball coach Tom Black and current beach volleyball coach John Mayer to be a part of the coaching staff at LMU. They wanted to keep her with the program for longer than her playing eligibility would allow. Wanting to stay connected with the University, she joined the staff as an assistant coach for the beach volleyball team, where she has been for the past four years.

"Flint has also been a professional beach volleyball player since finishing her college playing career in 2015.  She started her career with the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) when she and her partner Kelley Larsen notably became the youngest team to win an AVP tournament in September 2015.  She also was the recipient of the 2015 AVP Newcomer of the Year award. Flint credited her experiences and lessons learned at LMU for her success at the professional level.

Betsi Flint (left) and Kelley Larsen earned a bronze medal at a 2017 FIVB event in The Netherlands

"Her focus, along with coaching the LMU beach volleyball team this season, is to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. She has practiced regularly with Lion alumna Emily Day for the past two years. The two aim to be one of the two American duo representatives to make it to the Olympics. Should Flint and Day qualify for the Olympics, they would become the first Lions to represent the United States for beach volleyball.

“In getting so close to reaching her Olympic dreams, Flint finds inspiration from her father, who she plays each match for. Flint also receives encouragement from Mayer, who she credits for making her the player she is today.”

Here are Flint quotes in Sports Editor Thomas's article:

“Being at LMU really prepared me to play at the professional level.  The way we talk about the mental game and the team part of the game, we’re not just focusing on [physical] skills. We’re focusing on mental skills as well.  Mayer (John) has been an inspiration to me, as a coach and as a friend.  He’s always giving me great advice and he’s been giving me confidence to be the best player I can be.  We played in a number of qualifying events this summer. We’re doing well in the Olympic rankings, but it’s a long game.  It’s your 12 best finishes and right now we’re in the top 25 in the world, but we have a ton of USA teams as well.  There’s a lot of really good teams and we only get to send two teams to the Olympics.”

John Mayer (left) and Trevor Crabb with FIVB World Tour gold medals.

Mayer, who has competed in 31 FIVB World Tour events and captured two gold medals last season with Trevor Crabb at tournaments in Switzerland and China, was quoted in Thomas' article as saying Flint is "a really good role model. She’s committed to learning, to getting better, with all things in her life.  She’s always focused, she’s always working hard, she’s always eating right, she does all the little things really well. It’s really infectious.  She’s a really good teacher. She knows the game at a really high level and she’s really passionate about seeing people grow and making people better.   She’s relentless in her feedback in practice. If she sees a way to make someone better, she’s going to stay on them and continue to push them to get better at a fundamental.”

At the end of the article, Thomas quoted Flint as saying “I love to compete. I love volleyball.”


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