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It Was Emotional Ride to Gold for Blanton, Fonoimoana

September 27, 2000|From Staff and Wire Reports

Dain Blanton, a former Pepperdine All-American, and Eric Fonoimoana turned emotion and intensity into gold at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia.

The Americans displayed an unmatched intensity and unrivaled emotion in winning five consecutive matches and the gold medal in men's beach volleyball.

They were warned and penalized by referees for arguing calls, slapped away balls in anger and engaged in shouting matches with opponents, but managed to maintain a laser focus until they defeated Ze Marco de Melo and Ricardo Santos of Brazil, 12-11, 12-9, in the final.

"We never thought of the gold medal," Blanton said. "We took each match one at a time. When Eric blocked that last shot, it was like a relief."

Their desire showed in a driving style of play, with fist-pumping joy after successful shots and angry shouts following bad ones.

Blanton had a heated encounter with a Norwegian player over a play at the net and both Americans were warned several times for arguing calls.

"We play with a lot of emotion," Fonoimoana said. "We put it all on the line. We want to win as much as anyone else. That's probably why we act the way we do."

Their victory in the rain Tuesday brought an explosion of cheering at the sold-out Bondi Beach stadium, with dancing fans chanting "U.S.A."

"We battled out there," Blanton said. "It went back and forth. We had lots of opportunities to get that 11th point. That was a tough point."


Troy Dumais of Ventura started the diving final full of confidence and armed with a new dive, but consecutive low-scoring efforts hurt his chances to medal.

Dumais, a junior at Texas, opened the finals in eighth and moved to fifth after his opening dive. But after his two poor dives he dropped to ninth before working his way back up to sixth place.

Dumais added a new dive, a reverse 3 1/2 somersault tuck with a 3.5 degree of difficulty. But he entered the water with a big splash and received 5.5s to 6.5s.

"I had two blown dives," Dumais said. "If you add 25 or 28 points to my score for each of those dives, I'm right where they are. I wanted to enjoy myself and that's what I did, even though I missed a couple of dives."

Dumais has the springboard synchronized competition with David Pichler later this week.


The father of U.S. women's gymnast Jamie Dantzscher, a former Antelope Valley resident who lives and trains in San Dimas, remained in critical but stable condition, recovering from head injuries he sustained in a car accident in Sydney.

John Dantzscher underwent surgery to relieve pressure on his brain Friday. His seven children, Jamie included, planned to leave Sydney on Tuesday and return to their home in California.

John Dantzscher and another daughter, Jennifer, were riding in a cab in downtown Sydney when it was hit by a bus. Jennifer, 21, was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital.

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