Albert White Wins Both Diving Events in ParisAmerican Albert White became the first diver to win both the springboard and platform titles at an Olympics in 1924. At 29 years-old and a Stanford University graduate, White led the U.S. to a sweep of both the springboard and platform medals and ushered in an era of dominance for the U.S. in Olympic diving.
Gestring and Hill Set Olympic Records in Berlin
At the tender age of 13 years, 265 days, Marjorie Gestring of the U.S. became the youngest athlete to win an Olympic medal win she captured the springboard title at the Olympic Games in 1936. To date she still holds that record and baring any rule changes, her accomplishment will likely stand the test of time. Sadly, Gestring would never return to the Olympics which were cancelled in 1940 and 1944 because of World War II. She failed to make the team in 1948.
Dorothy Poynton-Hill made her mark in Berlin when she became the first diver in Olympic history to win the same event in successive Olympics. She followed up her victory on platform in Los Angeles in 1932 with a second gold in Berlin.
Sammy Lee Wins Platform Gold in 1948 and 1952Sammy Lee, an American of Korean descent, won the first of his two platform gold medals in 1948 in London. He returned four years later and became the first male to win a gold in the same event in consecutive Olympics. Lee was the first Asian-American male to win an Olympic medal and later went on to coach Olympic medalists Bob Webster and Greg Louganis, both of whom won the platform event in back-to-back games.
Pat McCormick Earns a Double-DoublePat McCormick gave birth to a baby eight months before the Olympic Games but continued to train for the games up until two days before she gave birth. Not one to let a little thing like a pregnancy stop her, she won both the springboard and platform titles completing a “double-double,” winning both diving titles in consecutive Olympics. McCormick's daughter Kelley would make her own mark on the Olympics with springboard silver in 1984 and a bronze in 1988.
Ingrid Kramer Breaks the U.S. Stranglehold on SpringboardHeading into the Olympics in 1960 the U.S. had won eight straight women’s springboard titles. In fact, an American had won every springboard title since it became an Olympic event in 1920. That streak ended for the U.S. when East German teenager Ingrid Kraemer defeated Paula Pope of the U.S. and Elizabeth Ferris of Great Britain for the gold. Kraemer also won the platform title that year becoming only the third woman to win both the springboard and platform events in the same year. In 1964 competing under her married name of Engel-Kramer, she won her second springboard gold but fell short of the presitigous “double-double,” finishing second on platform to Lesley Bush of the U.S.
Milena Duchkova Captures Gold for CzechoslovakiaDespite protestations to the contrary, the Olympics always seem to become a political hotbed and this was never more evident than when a 16-year old Czechoslovakian diver by the name of Milena Duchkova faced off against Soviet diver Natalya Lobanova for the platform title in 1968. With tensions high because of Soviet military and political involvement in Czechoslovakia, Duchkova defeated Lobanova and Ann Peterson of the U.S. for the gold much to the delight of the partisan crowd. Four years later in Munich, Duchkova would finish second in platform and remains the only Czech diver to medal in diving.
Vladimir Vasin Breaks the U.S String in Springboard
Despite the distractions caused by the terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches, Vladimir Vasin of the Soviet Union snapped a streak of 11 straight gold medals by the U.S. His victory in the men’s springboard in Munich in 1972 came at the expense of silver medalist Franco Cagnotto of Italy who finished fifth in 1968, second in 1972 and 1976, and third in 1980.
Micki King Gets Redemption
In 1968 U.S. diver Micki King was in the lead of the women’s springboard competition when she hit the board on her ninth dive, a reverse 1 1/2 in layout, breaking her arm in the process. She completed the contest but dropped to fourth missing a medal. She returned in 1972 as a captain in the U.S Air Force with gold medal aspirations. Making it a point to avoid the diving board, King took the lead on her eighth dive and won the gold over Swedish sensation Ulrika Knape.