OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 18: Boudia Stuns Diving World, Wins Gold Medal By 1.08 Points To End U.S. Drought

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 18: Boudia Stuns Diving World, Wins Gold Medal By 1.08 Points To End U.S. Drought


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

August 11, 2012

In one of the most exciting finishes in the sport’s history, David Boudia pulled off a huge upset to win the gold medal Saturday on the final day of diving at the London Olympics.

Only 15/100ths of a point separated the top three divers going into the sixth and final round of men’s platform.

China’s Qiu Bo and Yue Lin, top qualifiers after prelims and semifinals, were overwhelming favorites to medal going into the finals followed closely by Great Britain’s 18-year-old poster boy Tom Daley and Boudia.

It was Boudia, competing in his second Olympics, who captivated the crowd of 17,000 at the Aquatic Centre with his consistent diving after barely qualifying for the semifinal round by finishing 18th, the last qualifying spot.

Boudia, 23, of Noblesville, Ind. is the first male diver since former University of Miami and Mission Bay diver Greg Louganis won a gold medal on platform at the 1988 Seoul Olympics; first male diver to win any gold medal since the late Mark Lenzi won on springboard at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and first U.S. diver to win a gold medal since Laura Wilkinson in 2000.

“That’s the greatest performance I’ve ever seen him have,” said Boudia’s coach, Adam Soldati.

Going into the final round, it was Daley leading with 460.20, and Boudia and Qiu tied with 460.05.

Boudia nailed his back 2 ½ somersault with 2 ½ twists (3.6 degree of difficulty) for 102.60 points to overtake the lead and finish with 568.65 points. Qiu scored 100.80 on the same dive to finish with 566.85 and clinch the silver. Daley scored 90.75 on his reverse 3 ½ somersault (3.3 degree of difficulty), finished with 556.95 and bronze medal.

It was the first diving medal for Great Britain in 52 years and only the fourth aquatics medal for Britain at these Games.

Boudia looked in a state of shock as friends, family and coaches took turns hugging him on the pool deck. He finished second to Qiu at last year’s world championships in Shanghai.

“It’s very hard to believe,” Boudia said. “When I was 13 I was petrified with the height of the 10-meter platform. It took me almost six years to overcome that fear and here I am now, after winning the Olympic gold medal in this event. “My goal was to focus on one dive at a time.”

Entering his final dive, Boudia had no idea he was in contention for the gold medal. He wasn’t looking at the scoreboard, he said.

“If I had known the margin needed to win, my heart would have been pounding and the pressure would have been building,” Boudia said. “I was so calm.

“It’s very hard to believe,” Boudia said. “I’m in disbelief. I dreamed about this. It didn’t even feel like I was diving. It was so surreal.”

When Boudia climbed out of the pool, a Canadian diver told him, “You can smile now.”

“To be in the record books alongside Greg Louganis, the greatest diver in the entire world, Olympic legend, is amazing,” Boudia said. “The rest of the world is definitely catching up behind China.”

Said Louganis who told Boudia two years ago not to be afraid to leave the pack behind, “I have no words to explain what I just saw.”

Qiu, 19, visibly shaken, started crying against a wall. Chinese divers had won six of the seven gold medals awarded going into the final day.

“I have competed so many times but I have never had that much nervousness,” Qiu said. “It is OK. I am still young. I will be back.”

Daley and most of the British diving delegation were in the pool celebrating the 18-year-old’s medal success. It was probably one of the most wild bronze medal celebrations in any sport at the Games. Daley was clearly the favorite of the crowd that included soccer hunk David Beckham and his children clapping wildly.

“It’s simply an amazing experience, after all the difficult times I had in the last 18 months,” Daley said. “Despite all the ups and downs, the medal is here. The crowd certainly contributed to this outcome. I am over the moon with the bronze.”

Boudia had nothing but praise for Daley, whose father died of brain cancer at age 40 last year.

“Tom Daley dove absolutely amazing,” Boudia said. “In front of a home crowd, this kid had so much pressure on him, and he stepped up to the occasion, got a bronze medal and made his country so proud.”

Daley was actually awarded a mulligan in the opening round of the final when his coach filed a protest saying his diver was distracted by flashing cameras in the stands. A FINA judge allowed the protest and Daley was allowed to do his dive over. He raised his score from 75.60 points to 91.80 on his back 2 ½ somersault with 2 ½ twists.

The U.S. finished second in medals in diving with four, signaling a resurgence in USA Diving that has been dormant for years. Boudia also won a bronze with Nick McCrory on platform synchro; Kris Ipsen and Troy Dumais took a bronze on 3-meter synchro and Abby Johnston and Kelci Bryant won a silver in 3-meter synchro.

“It’s massive, it’s a massive step forward,” said Steve Foley, the high performance director for USA Diving. “I hope we can take it forward with a little momentum and hopefully build on it for Rio.”

McCrory, the other U.S. diver to final in his Olympic debut, finished ninth with 505.40 points.

Reigning Olympic gold medalist Matthew Mitcham of Australia failed to advance into the final after missing his last semifinal dive.

Olympic Notes

Michael Phelps is about to improve his stroke and it’s not in swimming. The 22-time Olympic medalist has been signed for the upcoming season of Golf Channel’s The Haney Project. The show, hosted by Hank Haney, former coach of Tiger Woods, will follow Phelps around over the course of the season as he attempts to conquer some of the world’s greatest golf courses. “As I enter this next chapter of my life, I think I will be able to shift my competitiveness to anything I put my mind to,” Phelps said. “And golf is one of the things I want to focus on. I want to play all the world’s great golf courses, but I’d like to play them well.” Past seasons have featured Charles Barkley, Ray Romano, Rush Limbaugh, Sugar Ray Leonard and Adam Levine. Production begins next month. Haney said it would likely be an eight-part series…Ironically, golf makes its debut at the Olympics at Rio 2016. Maybe Phelps will be back, only in a different sport…Now that Missy Franklin has been able to take a breath, the 17-year-old is considering her college and pro options in swimming. “We’ll definitely have to sit down and talk about it,” Franklin said. “I think that my experience here has done two very different things for my decision. I think it’s made my decision a lot more difficult because I’ve been able to see the benefits and everything and how people get these sponsorships; what it’s like for them and how much fun they are having and seeing those and kind of wanting that, wanting to be a part of it and having it be so hard to turn it down.” Franklin will be a senior at Regis Jesuit High School when she returns to Aurora, Colo.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.swim4soflo.com

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 172: Miami’s Brittany Viola Closing In On Olympic Berth At U.S. Trials

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 172: Miami’s Brittany Viola Closing In On Olympic Berth At U.S. Trials


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

June 21, 2012

Miami Diving’s Brittany Viola, brimming with confidence from the opening round, is two steps closer to making her first Olympic team.

Viola, 25, a University of Miami alum took a commanding lead after prelims and semifinals of the women’s 10-meter platform Wednesday night to advance into Sunday’s final of the U.S. Olympic Diving Trials at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash.

In front of a nationally-televised audience, Viola opened with a 10 on her opening dives in both prelims and semis and remained in the lead despite Katie Bell and 2008 Olympian Hailey Ishimatsu trying to close the gap during the five-round semifinals.

“I am just enjoying this experience, every dive is a joy,” Viola said. “I just trusted my body and my strength. I want to enjoy every moment of this opportunity in Sunday’s finals.”

Viola finished with 734.30 points followed by Bell with 703.75 and Ishimatsu, who moved up from seventh after prelims to third with 674.05 points.

Florida State’s Katrina Young also made the final cut of 12 divers placing tenth with 589.10. Young is coach by former Fort Lauderdale diver and Olympian Patrick Jeffrey.

With Viola looking like a lock for the team, the battle will come down to the second berth for the London Olympics.

Viola, 25, the daughter of 1987 World Series MVP Frank Viola, is competing in her third trials. She finished fourth in the 2008 trials. At the 2004 trials at age 17 she finished second but the selection committee chose another diver.

“There’s been a lot of lessons, a lot of them have been very challenging,” Viola said. “My body feels very good. I’m so thankful. I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in.”

In prelims, Viola led after the opening round with 380.55 points. She wasted no time as establishing herself as the leader among a field of 32 divers by scoring a 10 on her first dive, a forward 3 ½ somersaults.

“To start off like that is wonderful, but it’s a reminder to go on to the next one,” Viola said. “I just had a blast. I’m really enjoying the competition. I’m in a very peaceful place.”

Viola maintained the lead through four rounds with 308.55 points ahead of Bell with 260.85, Laura Ryan with 257.40, Amy Korthauer with 255.90 and Anna James with 244.90.

After the men’s 3-meter springboard prelims and semifinals, synchro partners Kris Ipsen, 19, seeking his first Olympic berth, and veteran Troy Dumais, 32, seeking his fourth, finished 1-2.

“It really is a battle, there are so many good competitors,” Ipsen said. “They are all so talented.”

Ipsen finished with 993.80 points. Only 3.05 points separates Dumais, second with 954.20 and Chris Colwill of Brandon with 951.15. Thomas Finchum, competing on springboard for the first time at trials, is fourth with 836.85.

“This is really a stressful environment,” Ipsen said. “This is tough, but I’m not nervous. I feel like my technique is getting better. Every list is like a final every single time.”

The top 12, including three Dumais brothers, Justin, Troy and Dwight, advanced into Sunday’s final. Justin Dumais, 33, returned to diving after his Iraq deployment. He is coached by his former 2004 Olympic teammate Mark Ruiz.

Ipsen, Dumais and Colwill, who is hearing-impaired, separated themselves from the rest of the field in the opening round of semis. Colwill moved into second in the third round with a great forward 2 ½ somersault for 88.40 while Dumais faltered on his back 2 ½ somersault for 64.50.

Dumais bounced back in the fourth round scoring 86.70 on his inward 3 ½ somersault and barely stayed second for the remainder of his list.

During prelims, Ipsen totaled 511.90 points for his six-dive list and Dumais had 465.70. They were among 18 divers who advanced into Wednesday night’s semifinals. Olympian Chris Colwill was third with 458.90.

Drew Livingston dropped from eighth to 17th place and failed to advance after a failed dive in the sixth round.

On Thursday, it’s championship finals time when the first Olympians are selected in the women’s 3-meter synchro and men’s 10-meter synchro at 10 p.m. televised on NBCSN. Olympic gold medalist Laura Wilkinson is color commentator.

NBCOlympics.com will live stream finals on Saturday and Sunday.

Miscellaneous

Move over Diana Nyad. Aussie Hall of Fame marathon swimmer Penny Palfrey and her crew are in Fort Lauderdale preparing for her 103-mile Cuba-to-Florida Swim. Palfrey, who turns 50 next month, expects to enter the water in Havana between June 23-30 depending on weather. She was successful with her Bridging the Cayman Islands Swim finishing in a world record 67.25 miles. The budget for her latest attempt is about $166,000….

Two-time Olympian and former Fort Lauderdale Diving Team elite diver Jenny Keim Johansen was named new diving coach for North Carolina’s women’s swimming and diving team. She replaces Kevin Lawrence who retired. She had been diving coach at N.C. State since 2008….Olympian Lars Jorgensen has been hired as associated head coach at University of Kentucky. Prior to that Jorgensen had been Tennessee men’s interim head coach and was head coach at Toledo, leading them to the first Mid-American Conference Championship during 2009-2010. Jorgensen will join 21-coaching veteran Gary Connelly at Kentucky. Jorgensen will replace John Brucato who left in May to coach the new program at Bellarmine…Auburn coach Brett Hawke will serve as Bahamian head coach…Florida Gulf Coast University and former Florida Atlantic University assistant coach Neal Studd was named head coach of St. Lucia for the Olympics. He will coach his swimmer, national record holder Danielle Beaubrun…Yahya Radman was hired as diving coach at Wyoming…Even The Weather Channel is catching Olympic fever interviewing Olympic legend Rowdy Gaines on the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, London Olympics and breaking a Guinness World Record for the largest swimming lesson last week.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.swim4soflo.com