David Boudia scraps springboard plan; Nick McCrory retires

David Boudia
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Olympic diving champion David Boudia will stick with the platform and not try to add a springboard event going into the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Boudia, who in London became the first U.S. Olympic diving gold medalist since 2000, competed in national and international springboard events in 2013 and 2014 for the first time since 2010.

Boudia last competed in July and said then that he wanted to make the 2016 Olympic team in three events — individual platform (his gold medal event), synchronized platform and either individual or synchronized springboard.

That’s no longer the case.

Boudia said he and his coach, Adam Soldati, and USA Diving high-performance director Steve Foley discussed his options in February and came to the conclusion he would try for two events in Rio. Boudia also entered two events at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

“We want to have me set up for the best success that we can,” Boudia said in a phone interview Tuesday. “We want to put all our eggs in one basket in platform. That’s what I’ve been doing all my career. That’s what I’m good at.”

Boudia, 25, will compete next week for the first time in eight months and the first time individually on platform in 11 months, at the FINA Diving World Series opener in Beijing (full U.S. roster here).

“I’m not really expecting to be at the top of my game,” Boudia said. “I’m eager to see what the other divers look like, but I’m even more eager to get back up on the 10-meter [platform].”

Boudia showed promising early results in springboard last season, finishing eighth at the FINA World Cup in Shanghai but only 17 points out of third place.

He also saw that his platform rivals, such as Chinese World champion Qiu Bo and Great Britain’s Tom Daley, were still specializing in platform only.

“It’s just a hard event, and it’s even harder when you’re doing both,” Boudia said. “If I decided to do three events, I could do fairly well.”

He speculated finishing something like fourth, fifth and sixth at a major meet in three events. Canadian Alex Despatie was second, fourth and fifth in three events at the Athens 2004 Olympics.

Boudia would rather try to become the first man since Greg Louganis (1984, 1988) to repeat as Olympic platform champion than become the first American since Mark Ruiz (2000) to make the Olympics in both springboard and platform. He left the door open to add springboard after the 2016 Olympics.

In December, Boudia suffered a broken right foot slipping on the springboard in “a fluke accident” in practice and joked it may have been a sign he should quit springboard.

He’s also dealt with wrist tweaks, common for platform divers, but a little bit of adversity for Boudia, who stayed relatively injury-free since his Olympic debut at age 19 in 2008.

Boudia also became a father on Sept. 10, when wife Sonnie gave birth to daughter Dakoda.

In November, he learned that his Olympic synchro platform partner Nick McCrory retired to pursue medical studies. McCrory, who earned bronze with Boudia in London, had barely competed since the 2012 Games. Boudia had already started training and competing with a new partner, Purdue’s Steele Johnson.

Boudia and Johnson will return to synchro competition in May, after Johnson’s NCAA season.

Pan American Games medals include Braille (photos)

Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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