Tri Bourne and his partner Trevor Crabb are fighting to earn their trip to the Tokyo Olympics, and if they succeed, it will be the first Olympic appearance for both of them. Despite dealing with dermatomyositis, an autoimmune condition that causes muscle inflammation, Bourne is one of the United States' top male beach volleyball players and figures to be one of the more inspiring stories in the sport if he and Crabb qualify for Tokyo.
As part of our preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, NBC Olympics sent questionnaires to a wide range of athletes to learn more about their lives on and off the field of play.
Here’s some of what we found out about Tri Bourne:
Tell us about your family. Who do you live with?
I live with my Wife (Gabrielle) and my daughter (Naia). We live in Redondo Beach in our own town house.
Where does your family come from?
My parents are originally from Minnesota and LA. My siblings and I were raised in Hawaii.
Parent influence on athletic career?
My parents were extremely influential. They are both very athletic themselves and they raised us to be very active. They are PE teachers so we were raised outside playing sports. The biggest influence came from how they exemplified working hard in sports for the love of it. They've put in more blood, sweat and tears into sports than anyone I know and it was never for any money (amateur sports). It was always just to push themselves to be as good as they could be. I think that's where I got my work ethic and grit.
How has your hometown shaped who you are today?
The culture in Hawaii is stronger than anywhere else that I've ever experienced. Although I haven't lived there full-time for over a decade, it will always be my home. I think that the culture and the people there have shaped my personality more that anything else.
What is your job? Why do you do it?
I have a beach volleyball podcast called the SANDCAST podcast. I do it just for the love of hearing the stories for other individuals that I admire. It also helps to learn and grow as an athlete when I'm not on the court. I find time in the evening to have athletes come over, along with my co-host/co-founder, to chat with us in the studio that my wife built in my house.
How much time do you train? How much do you sleep?
Three hours on the sand. I try to get eight to nine hours of sleep, but it's tough when we're jet lagged, plus I have a kid now.
What's your favorite workout?
I love to go up to my trainer's to work out. He is a true genius with the body and it is inspiring to have him kick my butt.
What's the most grueling workout you've ever done?
In college I ran every stair in the LA Coliseum.
Have you ever been seriously injured?
2017 and 2018 were learning years. I was forced to sit out for two entire seasons due to a inflammatory muscle disease (dermatomyositis) that took over my body and career. It took all of my will power. I went through small periods of anxiety and depression but I found a way to make the most of my time away from the sport I love and I ended up coming back better than ever.
I'm generally on a no gluten, no dairy, no refined sugar diet. This helps to keep inflammation low and keep my disease at bay. I make exceptions when appropriate. I have lots of lean meats, green veggies and brown rice/potatoes.
Earliest memory of playing sport?
I remember watching the Olympics every year with my family. My parents made a huge deal about it so it was definitely an exciting time. I watched Dalhausser and Rogers/May and Walsh win god in 2008, and I think that is what inspired me to want to play this game at the highest level. I had never really dreamed of playing beyond the U.S. before then.
My parents are my biggest source of inspiration. I grew up watching them participate in some of the most grueling amateur sports (ultra distance running, biking, swimming, canoe paddling, etc.) on earth. And they did it just for the love of it. If I didn't learn how to work hard just for the love of it then I don't think I would be here today.
Any pre-competition rituals?
I go down to the ocean and watch the waves if we're playing at a real beach. Other than that it's meditation and music.
How do you unwind after a competition?
Jump in the ocean. Body surf if there are waves.
Advice you'd give a young player?
Find the parts about the sport that you love and just do it endlessly. But always stay open minded so that you can keep learning and growing.