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Keeping Score

By Cindy Luis

Monday, December 13, 1999


Zetterlund finds
herself on the run

YOKO Zetterlund brings new meaning to the term "Moving on with your life.'' The former setter for the U.S. women's Olympic team completed her first marathon here yesterday.

The 27th Honolulu Marathon was "a way to challenge myself outside of volleyball,'' said Zetterlund. "The longest I'd ever run was a 10K (6.2 miles).''

The bigger challenge was to get ready in three months. Zetterlund was initially approached by TBS, a major television network in Japan, asking if she'd like to go to Hawaii.

Zetterlund, who competed in the Grand Prix volleyball tour stops here in 1995 and '96, said sure. Then she asked , "Why?''

"For the marathon,'' was the reply. "Yes, the full marathon.''

"It was 'Oh, my gosh, I've never run that far,' '' said Zetterlund. "I thought this was a great opportunity to try a new sport.''

TBS disappeared as a sponsor but Mizuno, best known for its volleyball goods, and a Japanese food company picked up the ball. Zetterlund put on her shoes, training outside of Tokyo, where her mother lives.

"I don't consider myself a runner,'' said Zetterlund, who was on the U.S. national team from 1991-97, including two Olympic teams "Volleyball training is completely different.''

STILL, she is a world-class athlete and just retired from her Japanese pro volleyball team last May.

Zetterlund finished the wet, sloppy course in 5 hours and 43 minutes yesterday, reaching her goal of breaking six hours.

"It was pretty hard, especially after the 20K (12.4 miles),'' she said. "But I'm glad I did it.''

She also got a lot of mileage out of this trip, doing promotional appearances for Mizuno and took in the NCAA regional semifinal match between Long Beach State and Colorado State last Thursday.

"I was really impressed by some of the players,'' said Zetterlund, "especially Tayyiba Haneef (Long Beach State's 6-foot-6 blocker). She was exciting to watch.''

Zetterlund had been playing for a pro team in Japan, coached by former U.S. national coach Arie Sellinger. But the Japanese government decided that there would be no more foreign players on its rosters, and Zetterlund, despite being half Japanese, was out of a job.

"I had dual citizenship but, when you turn 22, the Japanese government makes you decide,'' said Zetterlund, who was born in the U.S. but played at Waseda University in Japan on the team coached by her mother. "I had just made the U.S. team so I decided to keep my American citizenship.''

BESIDES her promotional work, she is helping Sellinger with a pro team and working with junior-level players. Her goal is to remain active in the sport, either as a coach or a television commentator.

"I love playing volleyball and helping coach brought it all back,'' said Zetterlund. "Coaching is a pleasure. I think I can pass on what I have learned. But I do miss playing.''

The 30-year-old said she might come back to Team USA in some capacity. The future of U.S. volleyball is uncertain; the American team has not yet qualified for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and will lose its coach, Mick Haley, after the Summer Games, when he returns to collegiate coaching (at Southern Cal).

Zetterlund has mixed feelings on some of the proposed rule changes in volleyball. One is the international format that has rally scoring in use for five games, first to 25 through Game 4 and then to 15 in Game 5.

"I like the intensity that rally scoring creates,'' she said. "But it tends to take away the comeback possibilities.''

As for coming back for another marathon, "I want to,'' she said. "Maybe next year.''



Cindy Luis is a Star-Bulletin sportswriter.
Her column appears weekly.



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