Pittsburgh Superstars: Christa Dietzen, women’s volleyball

PITTSBURGH — Volleyball has taken Christa Harmotto Dietzen from Hopewell, to Penn State, to the Olympics.

“You’re representing your family, your hometown, the college you went to. It’s so much bigger than me,” said Dietzen.

As a member of Team USA, Dietzen got a silver medal in the 2012 London Games. In 2016 in Rio, she took home a bronze. 

She said the bronze means a lot to her because you have to win a match to get it. The loser of that game goes home empty-handed.

Dietzen remembers advice her team got from a beach volleyball star just before the match.

“I can remember Kerri Walsh Jennings sharing with us, because she and April Ross had competed for a bronze. Kerri said she loved her gold medals but it was a real grind to win that bronze. Her sharing that, I think empowered our team,” Dietzen said.

Dietzen is now retired and looks forward to spreading her message to young volleyball players on the rise.

“Just being able to inspire and empower the next generation of athletes. I love doing that, I love being able to share. I love to have one-on-ones any time I get a chance to,” Dietzen said.

Dietzen added she was looking forward to watching the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a spectator, and taking in the competition in a way she hasn’t before.

“When you’re an athlete in the village, you don’t necessarily hear what’s going on with USA swimming or gymnastics or basketball and all the other wonderful sports,” Dietzen said. “So it’s going to be great to have the opportunity to watch all the coverage on NBC.”