The Commonwealth Games diving competition made peculiar headlines on Thursday.
Two Australian divers, including an Olympic silver medalist, were so off on their dives that they received zeroes from judges. England fielded a team that included a national champion born April 3, 2001.
First, the Aussies.
Grant Nel slipped on his 3m springboard takeoff for a forward 4 1/2 and nearly entered the water flat on his back to receive straight zeroes from the judges.
Nel appeared to laugh it off on the deck after his scores came up, and he grabbed redemption in the synchro event with a silver-medal performance Friday.
“I am absolutely chuffed to come back and see that diving board again and think, ‘That’s my house,'” Nel said, according to the Australian Associated Press. “I really wanted to take control if it.”
Melissa Wu is an experienced platform diver, winning silver in the synchro event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But she had an uncharacteristic miss in the individual event Thursday, slipping off the platform and landing feet first into the water.
Like Nel, she earned zero points from the judges. She bravely came back to complete her final four dives in the competition.
“My body just sort of reacted. I had no idea where I was. The dive just felt completely different to normal and I just didn’t know where I was,” Wu said, according to the Australian newspaper The Age. “It was a bit of a shock really. My foot slipped on the platform and I didn’t get into my rotation properly and I just got really lost and ended out coming out (early). Luckily I didn’t hurt myself too badly or anything. I guess I was just really shocked as it doesn’t happen a lot.”
Then there’s Victoria Vincent, the British champion, who at 13 would be too young to compete in the World Junior Championships if they were held this year.
Vincent, who is 4 feet, 8 inches, finished 10th in the Commonwealth Games platform, against women twice her age less than a year after her first dive off the 10m surface.
Vincent’s most prized possession is a teddy bear, which brings to mind one of the most precocious U.S. Olympians ever, Amanda Beard, the swimmer who won three medals at Atlanta 1996 at age 14. Beard toted a teddy bear that became so famous it was asked to be sent for a photo shoot sans Beard.
Vincent’s 2001 birthdate also reminds us that the 2016 Olympics will be the first Games to include athletes born in the new millennium.