Our venue is a unified game with the
former Olympians and athletes at the Alamitos Park, Long Beach. The day was
perfect for a game and everyone was excited to be playing alonside Olympians
from yesterday. SpecialNeeds.com
was delighted to be catching up with one of our super-stars, Dain Blanton. He
won the gold for beach volleyball in the 2000 Olympic Games. He is still very
active in the sport and loves to support Special Olympics with his whole
Dain is a Unified Partner and you can
clearly see where his passions are strongest, with the athletes and on the
sandy court! Dain is currently broadcasting,
covering outdoor volleyball on the AVP Tour shown, on the NBC network, and the
international FIVB Tour, on ESPN this fall for indoor volleyball.
What most impresses me about Dain is
his work speaking to our youth through a program he created called, “Getting to
Gold!” It’s a wonderful program where he motivates kids and teaches them about
the importance of education. He leads by example and teaches that studying hard
as well as doing your best will pay off. His way of coaching the kids is really
heartwarming and anyone would be fortunate to have him on their team!
Unfortunately Dain was not able to
attend the opening ceremonies but was there for the closing ones. We got a
chance to see him in action, and the players were having a great time with him
on the court. When they wanted pictures with the Olympian he was happy to
oblige and took the time to ask how they were doing, then stayed around to hear
their answer, a rarity with so many professional athletes. You could hear and
see so many on the beach this day that Dain has encouraged, supported, and
inspired. Actions speak louder then words and Dain Blanton is definitely a man
of actions that lead to positive results.
I asked him how he manages to be in
such great shape, mind, and body. Dain told me the way to holds his competitive
edge is by lifting weights and exercising, which keeps him sharp and in shape. One
of the sports he loves to play is golf. It’s a way this busy man relaxes and
takes a breather from the broadcasting grind.
Dain told us that the focus sometimes
is too much on the competitiveness and not enough on the passion, camaraderie,
or the uplifting of one another’s spirit. He believes these athletes are true
heroes, and if we all pay attention, we will learn so much from them. We all
need to take a valuable lesson from Special Olympics -- no one is excluded,
everyone has a dream that is achieved through hard work and determination!
Until we meet Dain again, SpecialNeeds.com wishes him much luck in his
future in broadcasting and regards him as a real hero!