All-Time Great Beach Athletes graphic

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 23, 2024) — USA Volleyball is set to celebrate some of the sport’s greatest athletes, coaches, officials and leaders at its 2024 Hall of Fame annual banquet and ceremony on May 22 at the Hilton Polaris in Columbus, Ohio.

The Hall of Fame ceremony will take place one day before the 2024 USA Volleyball Open National Championship starts at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The proceeds from the event will go to the USA Volleyball Foundation to provide funding to support the Olympic & Paralympic dreams of the athletes in USA Volleyball’s national team programs. To purchase tickets and explore sponsorship opportunities, visit 2024 USA Volleyball Hall of Fame.

Two beach volleyball greats will receive the All-Time Great Player Award at the ceremony: Dain Blanton and Karolyn Kirby.

To receive the All-Time Great Player Award, an athlete must have completed a minimum of five years as a member of a U.S. national team and must have competed on a minimum of five top-level international teams. Top-level refers to Olympic Games, FIVB World Championship or World Cup, and NORCECA.

Dain Blanton is the United States’ first two-time male beach volleyball Olympian (2000, ’04). He won the gold medal with partner Eric Fonoimoana in 2000 in Sydney. He partnered with Jeff Nygaard at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Blanton became the first male African-American to win a major beach volleyball event when he claimed the 1997 AVP Hermosa Grand Slam. He and Kent Steffes won a bronze medal at the 1997 Beach Volleyball World Championships. Blanton played indoor college volleyball at Pepperdine.

A player for 16 seasons (1984, 1986-2000), Karolyn Kirby won 61 domestic and six international tournaments with six different partners in 187 career events. She and Nancy Reno won the Olympic “test” event in 1992 in Spain that helped launch the bid for beach volleyball to be included into the Olympic Games.

Kirby and Liz Masakayan won the gold medal at the St. Petersburg 1994 Goodwill Games. Kirby was inducted into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2004.

Kirby played indoor college volleyball at Utah State.

USA Volleyball will announce more 2024 award winners soon.