From Olympic volleyball player to coach: Erik Sullivan talks about the journey

Published: Aug. 11, 2016 at 4:17 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 12, 2016 at 12:20 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The U.S. Men's Volleyball team plays Brazil tonight. Not only is one of the players, Reid Priddy, from Richmond.  But one of the coaches, Erik Sullivan, is my cousin and a former Olympic volleyball player himself. I had a chance to chat with him over Skype from Rio.

Behind the scenes of the U.S. Men's volleyball team, is a team of coaches.  One of them is Team Leader, Erik Sullivan, a former Olympic volleyball player in the 2000 and 2004 games.  Here's our conversation:

Heather:  Does being at the Olympics take you back to when you were competing?
Erik:  It does take me back to being a player.  It's always fun to be back with the guys and back with the group, the camaraderie when you're with a small group and trying to achieve one goal and traveling around the world.

Heather:  You know, your team member, Reid Priddy, is originally from here in Richmond?
Erik:  That is a good little connection.  Reid and I actually played together in Athens in 2004.  He's a guy that's been around for a little while and one of the veterans on our team.

Erik told me his Volleyball team had to move out of the Olympic Village to a hotel because the drive to the volleyball venue was an hour and a half.
Heather:  Why does it take so long?
Erik:  The city is interesting.  It's kind of spread out.  There's not great infrastructure.  So there are one or two ways to get around and if you hit a little traffic, it can be pretty crazy.  It took the women's team two and a half hours to get from the playing venue to the Village one night.

Heather:  For young athletes aspiring to become Olympic volleyball players, what's the secret?
Erik:  We obviously look for great athleticism, kind of the mind set to get good at something.  We want kids that are willing to work hard and kind of fanatical about what they do, and passionate about what they do.

Heather:  When you and I were kids growing up in California, did you ever think one day I'd be interviewing you about being and Olympic Team Leader and Olympic athlete?
Erik:  Definitely not.  It's crazy where life takes you!

Tonight, life will take Erik and the U.S. Men's Volleyball Team to the court to take on the team from the host country, Brazil.

Copyright 2016 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved

Report an Error or Submit a Tip to NBC12