2012 Summer Olympics: US Divers with Best Chance to Medal
The United States Olympic diving team, once the best in the world, was completely shut out of the medal count at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. China, now the dominant force in the sport, won seven of eight gold medals and 11 of 24 total medals.
China continues to dominate the sport heading into the 2012 Games, and the nation is favored to sweep the gold medals in London. While the United States doesn't have much hope of winning a gold, there are several members of the diving team who have hopes, and the necessary talent to win a medal for Team USA, the first since Laura Wilkinson won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Seven American Olympians in particular, three as individuals and four as partners, are in a strong position to win medals in the 2012 London Olympics.
David Boudia is Team USA's best hope of winning a medal (or two) in the 2012 London Olympics. He will compete in both the 10-meter platform and the synchronized 10-meter platform along with partner Nick McCrory.
Boudia surprised the diving world by winning a silver medal on the individual 10-meter platform at the 2011 FINA World Championships, the first American male to medal in the event in more than two decades. He has also won multiple medals in the event at the past few years' FINA World Series.
Boudia has also been successful in the synchronized 10-meter platform. He won silver at the 2009 FINA World Championships with partner Thomas Finchum, and with McCrory won silver at the 2012 FINA World Series and the 2010 AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix.
The 10-meter individual gold medal is expected to go to Qiu Bo, the best male diver in the world for the past year. Defending gold medalist Matt Mitcham of Australia will also compete, though he has battled injuries since coming out of retirement in 2011. Tom Daley of Great Britain is one of the stars of the home team, and he expects to medal.
Boudia finished fourth in the individual 10-meter at the FINA Diving World Cup. Though Qiu Bo walloped the competition, Boudia was in striking distance of finishing third. The gold medal is likely out of Boudia's reach, but he has a good chance of winning a silver or bronze.
Boudia and McCrory finished fourth in the synchronized event at the FINA Diving World Cup. Once again, the Chinese team is expected to win gold, but the American duo have been quite strong in this event lately, and they will likely battle with Mexico and Germany for silver or bronze.
Troy Dumais and Kristian Ipsen
At 32 years old and a veteran of three Olympic games and the winner of 35 national championships, Troy Dumais is the dean of the U.S. diving team. Kristian Ipsen is only 19-years-old, yet he already as a mantle full of trophies: 16 junior national championships, eight senior national championships, and three junior world championships.
The duo will compete in the synchronized 3-meter springboard. They won silver medals in the event at the 2010 World Cup and the 2009 World Championships.
Dumais and Ipsen face stiff competition from the Chinese team of Qin Kai and Luo Yutong. Qin won the gold medal in the event in Beijing with then partner Wang Feng. The 2008 bronze medal winning Ukrainian duo Illya Kavasha and Oleksiy Prygorov also returns to the the 2012 Games.
Dumais and Ipsen finished sixth at this year's FINA Diving World Cup (Kin and Luo finished first), and are considered long shots to medal.
In addition to the synchronized 3-meter springboard, Dumais will also compete the individual 3-meter springboard. Chris Colwill was the top American 3-meter springboard diver at the 2012 FINA Diving World Cup, and is likely America's best chance at a medal in the event.
Chris Colwill finished 12th in the 3-meter springboard at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and though he has shown some improvement since then—including an eighth place finish at the 2009 World Championships and a ninth place finish at the 2012 FINA World Cup—it is likely he will still miss out on a medal in London.
He Chong, the winner of the gold medal in the event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, won the event by 11.35 points at this year's FINA World Cup, beating Colwill's score by 74.4 points. He is expected to cruise to gold again in London, with teammate Qin Kai lurking as a possible threat.
It is far less clear who will win the bronze, as there is a cluster of divers with similar scores in recent performances, but Colwill is a little outside of this group. A strong performance could give him a shot at the bronze, and it is definitely not outside the realm of possibility, but he will likely fight to crack the top five.
Kelci Bryant and Abby Johnston
At the 2012 FINA Diving World Cup, the only American women to finish inside the top five in an event were Kelci Bryant and Abby Johnston in the synchronized 3-meter springboard. The duo posted a final score of 315.00, just behind second place Canada (321.90) and third place Italy (317.40), though well behind winner China (345.30).
Bryant is returning for her second Olympics, while Johnston is a first time Olympian. Bryant finished in fourth in the synchronized 3-meter in Beijing, and since then has tended to finish right around the same spot in international competitions. Johnston has been a strong competitor in the event both nationally and internationally, and the two offer each other an excellent chance at medalling.
As in every diving event in London, the Chinese are the clear favorites, and no one is expected to catch them for gold. It is a race for silver and bronze, and the duo of Bryant and Johnston have an excellent chance of medalling, perhaps the only real chance of any American women in 2012.
Cassidy Krug finished eighth at the FINA Diving World Cup, only one spot and 1.55 points behind her teammate Christina Loukas. Both will compete in the event in London, and while it is tough to determine who is more likely to medal, Krug has a slight, though far from insurmountable edge.
After missing the 2008 Olympics, Krug briefly gave up the sport before returning for the 2010 season. She won two bronze medals at that year's FINA World Series, and has won nine national championships since returning—giving her ten total in her career. She won a bronze and a silver at the 2011 Pan-American Games, and finished first in the event at this year's Olympic trials, erasing her 2008 miss.
The gold and silver medals are expected to go to...drumroll please...the Chinese, but the bronze is seen as up for grabs. Krug will have to defeat strong competition from Mexico, Sweden, Great Britain, and of course her own teammate. Though a medal is unlikely, she is a dark horse for a bronze medal.