I'm Kristina Valjas, someone who is passionate about the sport of beach volleyball. I absolutely love playing, and it such an honour to be able to call this my job! Last year, one of my biggest dreams came true when I qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Here's a little info about how I got where I am today.
I graduated from the University of Toronto with an undergraduate degree in Linguistics. I was a member of the Varsity Blues Women's Indoor Volleyball Team from 2005 to 2010. My parents, Peter and Marianne, both played for the Blues while they were in school at UofT.
As a kid, I was pretty active. I enjoyed cross country ski racing with my brother, Lenny (who is now a member of Canada's National Cross Country Ski Team). Throughout high school I was a competitive mountain biker for Team Sporting Life.
I was first introduced to beach volleyball in 2005 by my varsity indoor volleyball coach as a form of off-season training. Since then, my love for the sport has grown and I work hard at it every day and challenge myself to be better.
I was selected to be on the National Beach Volleyball Team in 2010.
In 2015, my partner Jamie Broder and I made history by becoming the first Canadian women's beach volleyball team to win an FIVB medal when we won the Fuzhou Open. We also earned a bronze medal in Lucerne, Switzerland. Our success is a demonstration of our effort in training, our teamwork and our love for the game.
Since the Olympics, there have been many changes! I got married in October of 2016 and so I am now transitioning into my new name- Kristina May!
My time with Jamie has been absolutely wonderful, we spent 5 years working together and learning so much. I have decided to challenge myself by playing with someone new, someone who is also a blocker, which will force me to learn a whole new side to the defensive game. My new partner is Taylor Pischke, a Junior World Championship bronze medallist and someone who I have been very competitive with- until now! We are excited to join forces and see what new goals we can accomplish together.