In 1997, after years of training with an extremely clear vision, Dain Blanton accomplished his childhood dream of winning a major beach volleyball championship. On June 15 of that year, he became the first African American in the history of the sport of beach volleyball to win a major title at the Hermosa Beach AVP Grand Slam. The $300,000 payday was the largest in beach volleyball history and cemented Blanton as pioneer in the sport.
Following that win, Blanton pushed himself to improve, lead, and inspire as a role model both on and off the court. This included establishing "Dain's Day at the Beach," a sponsor-driven series of volleyball clinics that exposes kids in urban areas all over the country to the fundamental lessons of beach volleyball. The youth also learn from Blanton the importance of education, goal setting, vision and focus, leadership and discipline.
On the court, Blanton directed his energy and attention toward a new goal of becoming one of the best players in the world. On September 26, 2000, Blanton and his volleyball partner Eric Fonoimoana struck gold at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia by upsetting the world's top-seeded team from Brazil. More than 10,000 spectators cheered every point at the Bondi Beach venue as Blanton and Fonoimoana played a near-perfect tournament and stunned the Brazilians to reach the pinnacle of the sport.
In 2007, Blanton turned his focus to the world of Sports Broadcasting. He began broadcasting beach volleyball games for a small cable station and then got an opportunity at Fox Sports West to cover high school football. From that start he has been climbing the ladder attempting to become the best broadcaster/reporter he can.
Blanton is currently the analyst for professional beach volleyball worldwide, covering the FIVB (Federation of International Volleyball), AVP, NVL (National Volleyball League), and the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Series as well as the Sideline Reporter for the NBA Los Angeles Clippers. His new career in Sports Broadcasting has involved working with ABC, NBC, ESPN, Fox Sports Net and Universal Sports Network. He has covered many sports including NBA, Beach Volleyball, MLB, College Basketball and College Football.
Dain’s dream now is to go back to the Olympics in 2012, but this time as a broadcaster, to cover the sport that has given him so much.
After achieving Gold in 2000, Dain found himself in a unique position to lead and inspire. That is why he is currently focused on helping others by traveling the country conducting motivational speaking engagements.
Blanton grew up in Laguna Beach, California, the heart of volleyball tradition. As a high school senior in 1990, Blanton was named the Orange County Player of the Year, Most Valuable Player of the Pacific Coast League, earned All-American honors at the Junior Olympics and was also an All-State Basketball player who led Laguna Beach to the CIF Finals in 1990.
After passing up a few small-school basketball scholarships, Blanton chose to follow his passion and accepted a full scholarship to play indoor volleyball at Pepperdine University in Malibu. In only his second year at Pepperdine, Blanton led the Pepperdine Waves to the 1992 National Championship. Upon graduation from Pepperdine with a degree in Public Relations, and acquiring his Physical Education Teaching Credential, Blanton took his game to the beach.
Blanton looks to continue breaking new ground and hopes to carry forward his message to inspire, motivate and to create opportunities for the next generation.