WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
August 8, 2012
With her parents looking on, University of Miami alum Brittany Viola finished 14th in the women’s 10-meter platform preliminaries on Wednesday and moved into the semifinal round at the London Aquatic Centre.
The top 18 advanced into Thursday morning’s semifinals followed by finals at night.
Viola, 25, who still trains in Miami with longtime Miami Diving coach Randy Ableman, finished with 322.05 points in her Olympic debut.
Viola was sixth after two rounds before falling behind when she over-rotated on her fourth dive and finished with a splash on her entry.
U.S. teammate Katie Bell rallied from 24th to finish ninth.
“I greatly enjoyed myself,” Viola said. “It’s so cool to be here. I’d like to do my third and fourth dives better than I did. I know I can hit my dives.”
Frank Viola, the MVP of the 1987 World Series, was among 20 family members and friends cheering Viola on.
China’s Chen Ruolin leads the women’s point standings with 392.35 points for a five-dive list. She is the defending champion and won both the individual and synchro platform titles in Beijing when she was 15.
China has won five of the six diving golds so far in London including the women’s platform synchro with Wang Hao and Chen.
Pandelela Pamg of Malaysia was second with 349.00 and Christin Steuer of Germany was third with 341.75. Steuer was an alternate called up when teammates Nora Subshinski withdrew with a neck injury.
Italy ended Hungary’s longtime domination at the Olympic Games, knocking off the three-time defending champions, 11-9, to move into Friday’s semifinals against gold medal favorite Serbia, 11-8 winners over Australia earlier in the day at the Water Polo Arena.
Italian leading scorer Maurizio Felugo iced the win with a long distance goal late in the fourth quarter for a two-goal margin with 58 seconds to go.
“We played against one of the strongest teams ever, we played at the highest level to beat them,” said Felugo, the team’s captain.
In the other semifinal, Montenegro, 11-9 winners over Spain, will play Croatia, who dismantled the U.S. 2008 Olympic silver medalist, 8-2. The U.S. will now play Spain and Hungary plays Australia in the classification round for places fifth through eighth.
The U.S. ended up losing three straight and lopsided matches to Serbia, Hungary and Croatia. “We never found our rhythm and probably the belief in ourselves either,” said U.S. head coach Terry Schroeder.
Serbia, which came back from an 8-5 deficit to the Aussies, is looking for its first Olympic gold medal as an independent country.
Open water swimming
The 10K open water swimming races for women is Thursday and men on Friday at the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park. Twenty five swimmers are in each elite field. It’s only the second time open water swimming is being held at the Olympics.
Keri-Anne Payne of Great Britain, a silver medalist in Beijing and reigning world champion, is the gold medal world champion.
Italy’s Martina Grimaldi and Marianna Lymperta of Greece are also among medal favorites. Haley Anderson is the top American.
Five-time world champion Thomas Lurz of Germany, a 2008 Beijing bronze medalist, is the gold medal favorite.
American Alex Meyer is the sentimental favorite. Meyer is swimming in the memory of Fran Crippen, who tragically died in a FINA-sanctioned open water swim in United Emirates In October 2011 at age 26. Crippen was a U.S. Olympic hopeful for London.
Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece and Ous Mellouli of Tunisia, who already won the bronze medal in the 1500 meter freestyle, could also win medals. Mellouli is the first swimmer to take part in both the Olympic pool and open water events.
According to an Olympic statistician, 51 percent of the male Olympic gold medalists sang their national anthems compared to 35 percent of female winners….About 16 percent of the 129 gold medal winners so far cried during the medal ceremony. China cries the least at 7 percent…Great Britain had the most weepers with 37.5 percent…Another 16 percent either bit or kissed their medal…The U.S. Olympic swim team’s Call Me Maybe video was tweeted 745 times during the swimming competition. It already has more than one million hits on YouTube.
“Taper time is over, time to do the little things that help keep me in shape on break like the stairs.”—Dana Vollmer, U.S. Olympic gold medalist and world record holder
“Four years ago I left Beijing to fight cancer, now I am leaving London to celebrate my gold medal.”—Eric Shanteau
“Last night I was met in the airport by family, friends and all three news stations. Then had two police escorts home from the airport. Also had a very nice lunch with the mayor, director of utilities board and director of parks and recreation. It’s been an amazing day.”—Claire Donahue, Olympic gold medalist who trains at SOFLO
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org