Misty May-Treanor among players in AVP New Orleans Open _lowres

FILE - In this Aug. 7, 2012 file photo, Misty May-Treanor celebrates after defeating China in the semifinal women's beach volleyball match at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London. For three-time Olympic gold medalist May Treanor, returning to the AVP tour for one event only has been more of a reunion than a comeback. Playing on the domestic beach volleyball tour she once dominated, May-Treanor was surprised by all the changes she found since she last competed there in 2010. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File)

Misty May-Treanor, one of the most accomplished beach volleyball players of all time, is among the players who will be competing in the AVP New Orleans Open.

The Association of Volleyball Professionals announced Wednesday that May-Treanor will be among the players competing in the tournament that starts Thursday and concludes Sunday in Laketown at Kenner.

May-Treanor, the wife of Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Matt Treanor, is a three-time Olympic champion. She teamed with Kerri Walsh-Jennings to win the gold medal in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

She will pair with Jenny Kropp for this weekend’s event that marks the beginning of the AVP’s 2016 season.

Making this year’s tournament even more attractive is that it comes in an Olympic year.

The tournament will be nationally televised and will consist of male and female Olympic beach volleyball hopefuls as well as local standouts.

Count Robbie Paige among those. The New York native returns this year after finishing in seventh last season. He will partner with Todd Rogers, who is retiring at season’s end.

“I feel a lot better this time,” Paige said. “To be honest, I have high expectations. It’s Todd’s last tour and (he’s) in great playing shape.”

Paige and Rogers won’t play until Friday.

Thursday’s opening day is the qualifying round.

Paige and Rogers are a No. 7 seed in the main draw that starts Friday.

“The tournament is wide open,” Paige said. “It’s going to be a battle no matter who we are going to play.”

Paige still remembers last season when he made the trip to New Orleans for his first appearance on the tour.

“It was a great place, the energy there is great,” Paige said.

The tournament is free for fans.

“April is always festival and fair time, so this will be just like another festival weekend,” Kenner Mayor Michael Sigur said.

The tournament will have a festival-like atmosphere. Matches will be held on four courts spread out across Laketown.

“We’re excited about having (the AVP) back in an Olympic year, which is big for us,” said Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation CEO Jay Cicero. “Hopefully we’ll have them back for years to come.”