July 15 – His grandfather was one of Hawaii’s all-time sports legends, and his parents played college athletics.
Micah Christenson was born an athlete. The only question was which sport.
It was all up for a while.
From the time he was about 5 years old, he was swinging a golf club. He was a baseball pitcher and football quarterback. Micah’s sister Joanna was also athletic. Likewise her cousins, Kupono and Keaupono Fey.
“The house was full of toys and all sorts of balls,” said Micah’s mother, Charlene. “I wasn’t the mother who said don’t throw balls in the house. I would take part. It was too hard not to compete.”
Charlene and her sister Shelly, who was a basketball player from the University of Hawaii, also coached after their athletic careers. Her father was Harry Kahuanui, one of the greatest UH greats of all time, a star in football and basketball in the 1940s, a natural athlete who excelled in everything he tried.
“He was watching Micah more than he was playing with him, but he was hitting golf balls with him and they were shooting baskets (in the house) all the time. He was sitting there shooting from his chair,” said Charlene. “He always laughed. It looked like he was having a lot of fun with the kids.”
Micah fondly remembers his grandfather.
“I’m the oldest of my sister and two cousins, so I have most memories of hanging out with him because he helped take care of us,” he said. “He passed on a lot of things to my father that later helped me. They had a great relationship.”
Charlene Kahuanui was a volleyball player at Hawaii Hilo, where she met her future husband, Bob Christenson, a Vulcan basketball player. Charlene was a three-time NAIA National Champion and an All-American. Prior to knee injuries, Bob was one of the top high school players in California.
When Micah restricted the sports, it made sense that it would be these two. He led Kamehameha to state championships in his two senior years.
The story goes on
Now, 10 years later, the 6-foot-6 starter is hoping to lead Team USA to an Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Christenson was only 23 years old and had just graduated from USC when he led the offense when the US won a bronze medal in Rio in 2016.
“I think the biggest difference now is maturity,” he said. “I can now draw on a lot more professional and national team experience. Being a manager is more natural after seeing a lot of experiences, successes and failures in different situations. I have become more stable, more complete and technically better.” I feel very good.”
The Americans are missing outward striker Aaron Russell, who is out with a knee injury.
“It’s a big blow to our offensive, he’s so competent. And we have other guys who are constantly struggling with injuries,” said Christenson. “But we are returning to full strength and we have a lot of guys back from the bronze medal team.”
Among the returnees are his roommate and temporary setter Kawika Shoji (‘Iolani grad) and the libero Erik Shoji (Punahou).
Christenson plays professionally in Italy and there were some tense moments last year when COVID-19 hit this country extremely hard and his team was in the middle of the season.
“When things started going badly, I sent my family (his wife Brooke and son Ezekiel) home. We played the next game without fans and it was super weird Leaving the house after a few days I get a call in the middle of the night from my wife who tells me that there is a decree that the next day is the last day, to get from Europe to America. My first two flights were canceled, but I finally found a way to San Francisco and then home. We were lucky enough to have the entire quarantine in Hawaii, but it was definitely a scary situation. “
Ezekiel, who is 3 years old, now has a little brother; Quinn is just over a month old.
Since no one is allowed to see the Olympics in person, Charlene plans viewing parties for the family.
“Of course we all wish they could be here,” said Micah. “But everything was a great blessing.” – Micah Christenson – Position: Setter, US Olympic Volleyball Team – Height: 6-6 – Weight: 190 – High School: Kamehameha 2011 – College: USC 2015 Career Highlights – World Championships, Third, 2018 – Awarded as best setter, World Championships, 2018 – Olympic bronze medal, 2016 – as best setter, World Cup, 2015