LONDON - Nick McCrory made it 2-for-2 for Duke divers Monday in the Olympics, earning for a medal just like his fellow Blue Devil Abby Johnston earned Sunday.
McCrory and his synchronized partner David Boudia made six dives Monday afternoon into the Olympic pool. They leapt off the 10-meter board, reaching close to 35 mph on impact after an acrobatic series of twists and flips.
When they emerged finally, they had a bronze medal to third credit.
McCrory and Boudia’s bronze represents just the second synchronized diving medal ever won by a United States team. Johnston and diving partner Kelci Bryant earned a silver Sunday on the 3-meter springboard.
McCrory and Boudia will compete against each other next week in 10-meter individual diving (along with about 30 other divers).
Monday’s performance fulfilled a dream McCrory had held since childhood. McCrory, who grew up in Chapel Hill and returns to classes at Duke in the fall, wanted to be an Olympian even before he became a three-time, record-setting champion at East Chapel Hill High School.
“I think it’s going to be awesome,” McCrory said before competition started at the London Aquatics Centre. “The pool is going to be packed and the stands will be going crazy. That’s a really fun environment to be in.”
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McCrory, 20, took this year off to train full-time for the Olympics.
One of the toughest parts about Olympic synchronized diving is qualifying – only eight teams make it, one from each qualified country. So McCrory and Boudia needed to beat five teams to win a medal Monday.
McCrory is eager to show his medal to his uncle, Gordon Downie, who won a bronze medal in swimming for Great Britain in 1976 in a freestyle relay. He is now a doctor living in Texas. McCrory wants to be a doctor, too, and he shadowed Downie a couple of years ago for awhile.
During that time, McCrory said, he asked his uncle to see the medal for the first time and got to hold it. “It was really incredible to hold it in my hand,” McCrory said.
Downie got to play a small role in Friday’s opening ceremony in which hundreds of former British Olympic medalists were honored. He was watching McCrory from the stands Monday, as were McCrory’s parents and his brother Lucas and several other relatives and friends who have flown in from North Carolina.
“What’s really important is being in that moment, keeping your head down and doing what you’ve trained to do,” McCrory said.
McCrory and Boudia started off their list of six dives Monday with an inward in the pike position for a 2.0 degree of difficulty, scoring 54.60 points, including one 9.5. They then earned five 9.0s from the judges on a back dive, bringing their total score to 108.60 and putting them in third place behind teams from Great Britain and China.
In the third round, McCrory and Boudia moved up to a 3.2 degree of difficulty on an inward 3 ½ somersault, netting 82.56 points. After falling to fourth place after that dive, the American duo scored 92.13 points on a forward 4 ½ somersault for a 3.7 degree of difficulty to move back into third.
McCrory and Boudia’s fifth dive, a reverse 3 ½ somersault, was awarded 85.14 points to bring their total to 368.32 and keep them in third with one dive remaining. Great Britain’s team of Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield trailed the Americans by just six points heading into the final round, with a spot on the podium hanging in the balance. However, McCrory and Boudia responded under pressure, nailing a back 2 ½ somersault with 2 ½ twists for a score of 95.04 points to bring their total score to 463.47, enough 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 off the podium in fourth with a final score of 454.65.
McCrory’s Olympic journey continues next week, as he vies for a medal in the men’s individual 10-meter platform event. The competition begins with a preliminary round on Friday, Aug. 10, and will be followed by the semifinals and finals on Saturday, Aug. 11.
McCrory and Johnston’s Olympic success under the guidance of Duke diving and U.S. national team coach Drew Johansen has also propelled Duke into the international limelight. McCrory and Johnston join former Blue Devil Nancy Hogshead in capturing an Olympic medal as a member of the Duke Swimming & Diving program.
After going 12 years without winning a medal in a diving event, the United States earned two medals in as many days.
Before McCrory and Boudia took their bronze, Johnston and Bryant claimed silver in the women’s synchronized 3-meter competition on Sunday. Johnston and Bryant were beaten out only by a Chinese pair. The Chinese are diving’s dominant force. Since the 1984 Summer games in Los Angeles, China has won 28 of 41 diving events in the Olympics.Leslie Gaber of Duke University contributed to this report.
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