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Duke Students End US Olympic Diving Drought
Durham, NC - After 12 years of being shut out in Olympic diving competition, the United States is back in the medal count thanks to two Duke students and their diving partners.
On successive days, Duke's Abby Johnston took silver and Nick McCrory bronze in synchronized diving competition. The Duke students' medals were the first for the United States since 2000, and the first ever for the country in synchronized diving.
Also celebrating is Duke diving coach Drew Johansen, who is the head coach of the USA team.
On Monday morning, McCrory, a rising senior from Chapel Hill who won the NCAA national championship, and partner David Boudia found themselves in fourth place at the halfway mark of the 10-meter synchronized diving competition. They raised the degree of difficulty in their dives and scored 92.13 points on a forward 4 1/2 somersault to move up one notch after the fourth of six rounds.
McCrory and Boudia's fifth dive, a reverse 3 1/2 somersault, was awarded 85.14 points to keep them in third with one dive remaining. Great Britain's team of Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield, which had a full stadium supporting them, trailed the Americans by just six points heading into the final round. McCrory and Boudia responded under pressure, nailing a back 2 1/2 somersault with 2 1/2 twists for a score of 95.04 points to secure the bronze medal.
China's Yuan Cao and Yanquan Zhang won the gold with a score of 486.78 points, while Mexico's Ivan Garcia Navarro and German Sanchez Sanchez moved up to take the silver with 468.90 points. Daley and Waterfield of Great Britain finished just behind McCrory and Boudia with a final score of 454.65.
McCrory and Boudia's bronze represents just the second synchronized diving medal ever won by a U.S. team. The first came a day before when Johnston and Bryant scored on the 3-meter springboard.
Johnston, a rising senior and pre-med student from Ohio, claimed second place with Bryant after the first of their six dives, a position they never gave up. With a medal on the line, they scored 72.00 points on their final dive, a back 2 1/2 somersault.
Zi He and Minxia Wu of China won the gold with a total of 346.20 points, while Canada's Jennifer Abel and Emilie Heymans took bronze with a score of 316.80.
McCrory and Johnston join former Blue Devil Nancy Hogshead in capturing an Olympic medal as a member of the Duke Swimming & Diving program. McCrory will also compete individually in the 10-meter platform competition, which begins Aug. 10.
Additional information, including video and blogs from London, is available on goduke.com, where much of the material in this article originally appeared.
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