Three times Troy Dumais has competed in the Summer Olympics, and three times the U.S. diver has come up empty.
Talk about frustrating.
At the age of 20 in 2000, Dumais earned a berth to the Sydney Olympic Games as both an individual three-meter springboard diver and one half of Team USA's entry for the men's synchronized three-meter springboard—along with 1996 Atlanta veteran and 2000 team captain David Pichler. Dumais and Pichler placed fourth in the synchronized competition, while Dumais finished sixth individually.
At Athens in 2004, Dumais once again placed sixth in the individual springboard, matching his sixth-place finish with brother Justin in the synchronized springboard.
At the Beijing 2008 Games, Dumais finished sixth for the third time individually while failing to qualify in the synchronized event.
And so began the six-six-six curse.
Now that Dumais has qualified for his fourth Olympic Games—joining American-great Greg Louganis as the only male, American divers to accomplish the feat—Dumais hopes that some of Louganis' star power rubs off, as the 32-year-old attempts to capture his first Olympic medal and rid himself of the curse.
To help him accomplish the goal, Dumais has teamed with Kristian Ipsen in the synchronized springboard, having already won silver with Ipsen at the 2009 Rome World Championships and, later, gold at the 2011 USA Diving Winter National Championships at UCLA.
The duo repeated their first-place performance at the 2012 USA event, though Dumais saw an all too familiar sight at the FINA Diving World Cup in Texas—once again finishing sixth in the synchronized event.
A freshman on the Stanford team, the 19-year-old Ipsen barely missed qualifying individually and has already won several National Junior Diving Championships in both the springboard and platform competitions.
Dumais and Ipsen additionally captured first place at the 2009 and 2010 AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix.
To increase his odds of medalling in London, Dumais has also qualified for his fourth-consecutive individual springboard competition, finishing second at the US Olympic Trials and edging out teammate Ipsen for the final individual spot. Though according to his international history, Dumais' greatest chance of medalling in Olympic competition remains with the synchronized springboard.
In all, Dumais holds one international gold, taking the top prize at the 2007 springboard syncro at the Rio de Janeiro Pan American Games, while his two silvers in 2009—one individually and one synchronized—doubled his international silver total.
The remainder of his medals—five bronzes—were all earned prior to the Beijing Games.
With such recent success, Dumais is looking forward to his figurative second wind in his fourth Games, though the Olympics has often favored younger divers.
In 1992, China's Fu Mingxia became the second-youngest person to win an individual gold medal and the youngest platform diver to win—at the age of 13.
In 2008, Great Britain fielded a 14-year-old synchronized diver in Tom Daley. Though Daley did not win in Beijing, he recently won golds at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and the 2012 European Championships in Eindhoven.
Having made 17 consecutive national teams, Dumais' 2012 Olympics will very likely be his last, and after receiving USA Diving's Athlete of the Year Award for the third time in 2009, Dumais hopes his fourth time is the charm.
After all, at Louganis' fourth Olympics, in 1988 at Seoul, he drew gold in both the three-meter springboard and 10-meter platform.