Pretty much everyone in the volleyball world — especially anyone in the college game who has taken an international trip — knows him as TK.
He’s 6-foot-10 Tim Kelly, the former UCLA player whose Bring It USA is the leading tour company for American college programs that take international offseason trips. Kelly has been all over the world, both for his business and personal travel.
Recently, he and Stanford coach Kevin Hambly traveled to Cambodia and Vietnam. I wanted to catch up with TK about not only that trip, but talk to him about the coronavirus and how it’s affecting his international volleyball travel. It is in a big way.
This is our interview from Monday. First we talk about the fun travel but then the impact of coronavirus on his volleyball business. Below is some more information about how volleyball is dealing with the coronavirus.
More about the coronavirus: A four-star FIVB beach volleyball event in Yangzhou, China, and a three-star Bandar Abbas, Iran — originally scheduled for April 22-26 and March 3-7, respectively — have been postponed, while a four-star in Siming, China, scheduled for April 29 to May 3, has been outright cancelled.
“Once again, the FIVB reiterates its sympathy for those affected by the outbreak, and stands in solidarity with the whole volleyball community in China,” the FIVB press release announcing the cancellation of the Siming event reads. “We will continue to work closely with the World Health Organisation and CVA, and to monitor the situation closely so that China can reassume its rightful place on the world volleyball stage as soon as possible.”
It being an Olympic year, these cancellations, especially of the four-star events, which award large points totals, will have significant implications for those pairs pursuing a spot in Tokyo come August. That is, assuming the Olympics don’t also fall victim to the coronavirus as well.
With Siming and Yangzhou called off, the remaining four-star events before the end of the Olympic qualification period on June 14 are in Doha, Qatar (March 8-13, men only); Cancun, Mexico (March 24-29); Itapema, Brazil (May 6-10); Ostrava, Czech Republic (May 20-24); Warsaw, Poland (May 27-31); and Moscow, Russia (June 3-7). One five-star remains, in Rome, June 10-14.
On Saturday, USA Volleyball released a statement regarding COVID-19.
“In analyzing all of the data, USA Volleyball has determined that it would be premature to cancel our tournaments at this time as the risk is still very low in the United States,” the statement read. “That being said, we are monitoring the situation on a daily basis and may alter our decision should the need arise.”
The organization has created a webpage where it will post updates on the coronavirus.