Q: You played multiple sports growing up all the way through high school. What made you do that instead of focusing solely on volleyball?
Harmotto-Dietzen: “I believe playing multiple sports is important during your elementary and high school years. It keeps kids from burning out and develops them to be all around athletes. I loved the various challenges and team dynamics of playing multiple sports.”
Q: You experienced a lot of success in high school and in college. When you were selected to play for the national team, what specific adjustments did you have to make to your game to play at the international level?
Harmotto-Dietzen: “In high school and college you have the balance of school and sport, but once you are at the professional and National Team level, it becomes only sport. It is important to find balance in other ways. I also believe that the mental side of the game becomes more exposed and what separates the good from the great players. The speed of the game also changes, so it challenges you to pick up information and make adjustments at a higher level.”
Q: Through all of your achievements and accomplishments from your high school, college, and national teams, what one accomplishment stands out the most?
Harmotto-Dietzen: “Winning the World Championship last year. Not just because it was the first time the women have ever won Gold at a major international competition (World Championships, World Cup, Olympic Games), but HOW we did it and all the hours of work leading up to that.”
Q: You’ve mention a period during your career in which you struggled with anxiety and a fear of failure. Talk about that some if you will, and how did you eventually overcome it?
Harmotto-Dietzen: “As I mentioned above, once you no longer have the balance of sport and school, your identity is challenged. For me, my value became placed in how I performed in training that day. We are judged on performance every day in the competitive gym environment. It wasn't until I found my identity in a relationship with God, did I realize my worth was not in sport.”
Q: Obviously your main goal is winning the Gold Medal in the 2016 Olympics. What other long-term goals do you have for yourself, both on and off the court?
Harmotto-Dietzen: “I will most likely retire shortly after the 2016 Olympics. I am enjoying the present opportunity I have with this program and will set new goals once this chapter is finished. God willing, there will be children in the coming years.”
Q: What Bible verse has impacted you the most in your career?
Harmotto-Dietzen: “Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will lead your paths straight.”
Christa Harmotto-Dietzen is a middle blocker for the U.S. National Team. She helped the U.S. team win the 2014 World Championship. She was also part of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team. Christa played collegiate ball at Penn State where she won back-to-back National Titles in 2007 and 2008. She was named as ESPN the Magazine’s Academic All-American of the Year in 2008. In her senior year at Hopewell High School in Pennsylvania, she was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, and was a national top 15 recruit in 2005. You can follow her on Twitter @christaharmotto