Gold medalist speaks to MAPS students

MARQUETTE — Freshmen at Marquette Senior High school were treated Friday with a motivational speech by an American athlete who competed twice in the Summer Olympics.

Dain Blanton won a gold medal in 2000 and returned in 2004 to become the first two time Olympian in men’s beach volleyball from the United States.

For Blanton, Friday’s event provided an opportunity to reach students at a formative time in their young adult lives.

“Dealing with students is fun,” Blanton said. “Students are like clay; they’re very young and they haven’t formed all their opinions, and they’re looking to make the right path. As you know, by November of most students’ freshman year that’s when they decide: are they going to go to school or are they going to drop out. You have to catch them early and that freshman transition time is so crucial.”

The main focus of his speech emphasized finding one’s passion, surrounding oneself with winners – or people who will help you succeed – overcoming obstacles, and most importantly, never giving up.

“I just looked it up recently,” Blanton said. “I played in 259 events my entire career; I won 11 of them. That means 248 of them I was second or worse.”

This was Blanton’s third trip to Marquette.

Aside from motivational speaking, Dain is also heavily active in sports broadcasting, including stints with ESPN and a sideline reporter for the L.A. Clippers.

He says, however, that he receives the most reward from speaking engagements such as these.