The final competitive dive of Troy Dumais‘ storied career was one of his toughest.
As he stepped up on the springboard in the final round of the U.S. Olympic Diving Trials on Saturday, the crowd at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis gave the 36-year-old, four-time Olympian a standing ovation. He was already out of contention for a berth in a fifth Olympics, but he still wanted to nail his forward dive with two and a half somersaults and two twists.
“It took a lot out of me, I’ve got to be honest with you,” Dumais told NBC after the emotional dive.
But he executed flawlessly and called it a career – one of the greatest the sport of diving has ever seen. He didn’t use the word “retire,” but Dumais did say, “It’s been a great career.”
He was bidding to become the first U.S. man to dive in five Olympic Games, and he would have been the oldest to qualify for the U.S. Olympic diving team since at least 1912. Four-time Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis is the only other U.S. male to qualify for four Olympics.
VIDEO: U.S. Olympic Diving Trials
Ultimately, Dumais finished fourth when only the top two divers go to the Olympics. Since May, he’s been bothered by a nerve injury that causes numbness in his right arm.
But he fought through the pain and goes out as one of the most decorated U.S. divers of all time: 38 national championships, 21 consecutive national teams made (first appearance at age 16), seven NCAA championships, five World Championships medals, three-time USA Diving Athlete of the Year, and one Olympic medal.
He earned that bronze four years ago in London with synchronized partner Kristian Ipsen, the man who won the individual springboard event Saturday night. Upon clinching his Olympic berth, Ipsen was immediately greeted by Dumais.
“It was cool because he just said ‘You’re going to kill it,'” Ipsen said afterward. “It’s pretty awesome. He’s been to four Olympics now, so for him to say that was like passing on the torch. It was a really cool moment.”
Dumais’ final night was full of memorable moments.