In the final diving event of the London Olympics, American David Boudia realized his full potential when he came from 18th place in the preliminary round to win gold in the men’s 10m platform final. Boudia’s win capped off Team USA’s most successful diving Olympics since 1988, with Americans winning four medals in London: one gold, one silver, and two bronze.
Now, with Rio less than four year away, American divers should be able to carry the 2012 momentum while at the same time looking back at the 1984 Los Angeles Games for inspiration. In ’84, every diving team member reached the podium, with Americans bringing home eight medals.
The American divers will never be able to log the number of annual dives that the Chinese perform, but Boudia’s gritty victory proves they can stand toe-to-toe with them. Americans may now be able to impose rather than succumb to the intimidation a great performance can engender. Boudia gave the Americans a view and a taste of victory, and in sports tradition and legacy matter. For that reason the U.S. team is wise to enlist the advice and encouragement of Greg Louganis, the most decorated diver in American history.
But we’ve seen the rise and fall of American diving before; the team didn’t win a single medal in Athens or Beijing. So Team USA’s continued diving success depends in large part upon creating more efficient training and performance techniques. Better science, better nutrition, and greater coaching collaboration will dictate whether or not the U.S. will be able to challenge the Chinese diving juggernaut again in Rio. All that said, if London is any indicator, we’re optimistic about the future of American diving.