Troy Dumais chases more Olympic history as career winds down

Troy Dumais
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Troy Dumais started diving with a dream of becoming the best in the world.

He’s leaving the sport still trying to prove it.

With a new wave of daring, young competitors eager to replace him on the international stage, a nerve injury that has been causing numbness in Dumais’ right arm since early May and retirement plans already worked out, the 36-year-old diver insists he’s not ready to turn this week’s U.S. Olympic trials into a farewell tour.

“I am not done,” Dumais said following Saturday’s underwhelming performance in the prelims and semifinals of his trademark event — synchronized springboard. “I want to erase what happened and not let that happen again.”

Dumais and partner Kristian Ipsen, the Olympic bronze medalists in 2012, head into Wednesday night’s finals trailing Sam Dorman and Michael Hixon by a seemingly insurmountable 56.52 points.

Dorman and Hixon have only been working together two months, and while both have competed around the world, neither finished in the top 15 in their only other trials appearance four years ago.

Dumais and Ipsen, meanwhile, still know how to get the crowd revved and the judges’ attention.

If they can defy the odds and earn the lone spot on the U.S. team, Dumais would become the first American male diver to compete in five Olympics and the oldest to qualify for the team since at least 1912 — USA Diving does not have birth records of its teams from 1904 and 1908. He’ll get another chance Saturday in the individual springboard, where he is fourth, 110.05 points out of the second qualifying spot.

Those who know Dumais best refuse to count him out.

“When you’re his age and can still compete at his level and physically are still there, it’s really all about the mental side of it,” Olympic gold medalist David Boudia said. “There’s no one better mentally than Troy Dumais.”

Only a few American divers have a resume even approaching the achievements of this steady Californian who owns 38 national championships and made 21 consecutive national teams after making his first appearance at age 16.

In college, he won four NCAA championships in 3m springboard and 3 in 1m springboard. He also competed in eight World Championships and was named diver of the year three times and finally earned his first Olympic medal, a bronze, in 2012 with Ipsen.

Instead of retiring then as many expected, Dumais continued to dive by making more sacrifices to stay competitive.

“I’m 36 years old. All my friends are married and have kids now,” he said. “I haven’t even started that aspect because of my job, and I didn’t want to start it (a relationship) because I knew I wouldn’t be able to give it everything and it would be very sour.”

Now, it appears time may be catching up to diving’s iron man.

Dumais acknowledges qualifying has become more difficult because he focuses more on major competitions.

He said he often wakes up with his right arm in pain, completely numb. The result is that routine moments, such as walking down the board in unison, have become challenging.

“It happened and I have to deal with it,” he said, insisting he’d be 100 percent in Rio if he makes it. “I’m not blaming anybody, and I feel really bad for Kristian because we’ve worked so hard. I don’t want to let him down and I don’t want to let anybody in USA Diving down.”

Or his supportive family, who are often dressed in T-shirts touting Dumais’ drive for five.

He plans to reward them by making a family visit the first stop after his career ends. Then he wants to do something “fun” before entering chiropractor school, building a relationship and starting the next chapter of life.

Dumais just isn’t ready to start over yet.

“I still want to be the best. Sometimes I falter and sometimes I’m in that vicinity,” he said. “I have (thought about not making the Olympic team) and I don’t like those feelings. But there are a lot of people who have had to close down a business or move on and that’s hard. The thing is I have another chapter that I get to start writing and it’s not diving. It’s a career, it’s a profession.”

MORE: David Boudia: ‘Silver is like a thorn in the side’

Coco Gauff rallies past 16-year-old at French Open

Coco Gauff French Open

Coco Gauff rallied to defeat 16-year-old Russian Mirra Andreeva in the French Open third round in Gauff’s first Grand Slam singles match against a younger opponent.

The sixth seed Gauff, the 2022 French Open runner-up, outlasted Andreeva 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-1 to reach the fourth round, where she plays 100th-ranked Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

“[Andreeva] is super young, so she has a lot to look forward to,” Gauff, 19, said on Tennis Channel. “I’m sure we’re going to have many more battles in the future. … I remember when I was 16. I didn’t care who I was playing against, and she has that kind of game and mentality, too.”

Gauff could play top seed and defending champ Iga Swiatek in the quarterfinals. Swiatek on Saturday thumped 80th-ranked Wang Xinyu of China 6-0, 6-0, winning 50 of the 67 points in a 51-minute match.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

This week, Andreeva became the youngest player to win a French Open main draw match since 2005 (when 15-year-old Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria made the quarterfinals). She was bidding to become the youngest to make the last 16 of any major since Gauff’s breakout as a 15-year-old.

The American made it that far at 2019 Wimbledon (beating Venus Williams in her Grand Slam main draw debut) and the 2020 Australian Open (beating defending champion Naomi Osaka) before turning 16. At last year’s French Open, Gauff became the youngest player to make a Grand Slam final since Maria Sharapova won 2004 Wimbledon at 17.

This was only Gauff’s third match against a younger player dating to her tour debut in 2019. It took Gauff 50 Grand Slam matches to finally face a younger player on this stage, a testament to how ahead of the curve she was (and still is).

While Gauff is the only teenager ranked in the top 49 in the world, Andreeva is the highest-ranked player under the age of 18 at No. 143 (and around No. 100 after the French). And she doesn’t turn 17 until next April. Andreeva dropped just six games in her first two matches at this French Open, fewest of any woman.

Gauff is the last seeded American woman left in the draw after No. 3 Jessica Pegula, No. 20 Madison Keys and No. 32 Shelby Rogers previously lost.

Gauff is joined in the fourth round by countrywomen Sloane Stephens (2017 U.S. Open champion ranked 30th) and 36th-ranked Bernarda Pera (at 28, the oldest U.S. singles player to reach the last 16 of a Slam for the first time since Jill Craybas at 2005 Wimbledon).

The last U.S. woman to win a major title was Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major span without an American champ is the longest for U.S. women since Monica Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

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2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Having turned 22 on Wednesday, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, is her top remaining challenger in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American man or woman, was eliminated in the third round. No. 4 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who has three wins over Swiatek this year, withdrew before her third-round match due to illness.

No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, is the best hope to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw