Eric Fonoimoana: Mormon Athlete
Eric Fonoimoana is a gold medalist in men’s beach volleyball at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, which was considered an upset because he and partner Dain Blanton were seeded ninth going into the games. They qualified for the games at the last possible tournament in Belgium, beating out Olympian Karch Kiraly.
Fonoimoana was born on June 7, 1969, in Manhattan Beach, California, and attended the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has played in more than 200 tournaments. He is semiretired from the sport and is a real estate professional. He remains active in the volleyball community through an interactive instructional volleyball website. He also founded Dig for Kids, which is a charitable foundation that helps kids in inner cities excel in school, volleyball, and athletics in general.
Fonoimoana was inspired to reach for the Olympics when his sister Lelei swam the 100-meter butterfly and the 4x100-meter medley relay in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. He and his wife, Eliza, are the parents of two children. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.