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Stephan Feck Back Flops: Disastrous Dive Is Definition of Tragic

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06:  Stephan Feck of Germany competes in the Men's 3m Springboard Diving Preliminary on Day 10 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on August 6, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2012

Imagine for a moment that you've trained your entire life to perform an event at the Olympic Games. You've spent countless hours practicing your craft, perfecting the minute details that evade the common eye and sacrificing a normal life in the process.

So when you walk up to the diving board in the preliminary round of the men's three-meter springboard competition, it's not just one dive you're about to undertake; it's the culmination of your life's work.

And what happens?

Oh, you just totally botch the dive, land in the water smack on your back and receive zero points for your effort, ultimately dropping out of the competition after your next dive.

Welcome to the life of German diver Stephan Feck. Pretty brutal, right?

But wait—it gets worse.

As if totally messing up your dive and watching your Olympic dream go down the tubes wasn't bad enough, the video of the ordeal happening goes viral on the Internet. People think your failure is hilarious. Hilarious! You become a household name but for all the wrong reasons.

You become the Back Flop Guy. Your moment is the antithesis of Aly Raisman starting to cry after sticking the landing on her final pass during the floor routine from the team final, or Oscar Pistorious advancing to the semifinals of the 400-meter dash.

Your gaffe become associated with the gaffes from famous athletes like Jim Marshall and Jose Canseco. Forever will future failed dives be compared to the Feck Back Flop. 

Mel Brooks once said, "Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die." 

The point?

It's hilarious when something bad happens to someone else in a funny manner. But it sure does suck when the smallest little thing goes wrong for us. So laugh away—let's be honest, it's everyone's first instinct after seeing that video—but try to imagine this from Feck's perspective, too. 

Try to imagine how devastating that moment must have been and, now thanks to the Internet, continues to be.

I hope for his own sake that Feck can one day look back on all of this and laugh. I hope he can embrace the attention his dive has received on the Internet the way the folks that do Web Redemptions for Daniel Tosh do.

Then again, those Web Redemptions people were mostly just doing something dumb. They weren't competing on the biggest stage of their lives after a life of practice and sacrifice. They didn't get zero points.

Stephan Feck, I feel for you. But you'll dive again. And it literally can only get better after London 2012.

 

Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets don't walk, jog, run or sprint, they Bolt.

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