Del Mar attracts many pro athletes

Presented by Joe Jelley

1968 Olympic Decathlon winner Bill Toomey is among the athletes that over the years have called Del Mar home. Other Olympians who have lived in Del Mar, at one time or another, include Steve Timmons, who won two gold medals as part of the U.S. Olympic volleyball team which captured first place at the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles and the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Fellow 1988 Olympic team member Scott Fortune also lived in Del Mar. Fortune also won a bronze medal at the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona and was on the U.S. Olympic team in 1996.

Beach volleyball did not become an Olympic sport until the 1996 games in Atlanta. Former Del Mar resident Mike Whitmarsh, who made the transition to volleyball after a brief professional basketball career, won a silver medal at the 1996 Olympics. Whitmarsh was also the Association of Volleyball Professionals tour Rookie of the Year in 1990.

Other professional beach volleyball players who have lived in Del Mar include Randy Turner, who now competes in paddleboard races. Tom Grindle is another Del Mar resident involved in paddleboard racing.

Although Del Mar’s Guenter Seidel has not won an Olympic gold medal, he has three bronze medals. Seidel won 1996 and 2000 bronze medals in dressage and a 2004 medal in team dressage.

Del Mar’s proximity to the ocean has also served Joel Tudor, who ended 1998 with a top Association of Surfing Professionals ranking. Tudor ranked No. 2 in 1992, 2000 and 2003, and ranked third in 1991, 1994 and 2001. In 2002, he won the U.S. Open title in surfing.

Golf is not an Olympic sport, but golfers who have called Del Mar home include current professional player Tom Lehman.

Editor’s note: This article, written by Joe Naiman, is reprinted from the “Del Mar Picture Book,” published by Joe Jelley. Contact him at