Men’s Diving

Diver Nick McCrory could be 2nd Duke student to win medal at London Games

sfowler@charlotteobserver.comJuly 30, 2012 

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Nick McCrory duke swim team and mugs__Jon Gardiner/ Duke Photography

JON GARDINER — Duke Photography

— Nick McCrory will try to make it 2-for-2 for Duke divers in the Olympics Monday, hoping for a medal just like his fellow Blue Devil Abby Johnston earned Sunday.

McCrory and his synchronized partner David Boudia will take six dives Monday afternoon into the Olympic pool. They will leap off the 10-meter board, reaching close to 35 mph on impact after an acrobatic series of twists and flips.

It will be the first Olympic experience for McCrory, who grew up in Chapel Hill and returns to classes at Duke in the fall. “I think it’s going to be awesome,” McCrory said. “The pool is going to be packed and the stands will be going crazy. That’s a really fun environment to be in.”

McCrory, 20, took this year off to train full-time for the Olympics. Later in the Olympics, McCrory and Boudia will compete against each other in 10-meter individual diving (along with about 30 other divers).

But Monday may be their best medal shot, simply because of the numbers. 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 need to beat only five teams to win a medal Monday.

Johnston and Bryant won a silver medal Sunday in the women’s 3-meter synchronized diving, losing only to 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.

Great Britain also has a good 10-meter men’s diving team, so that will be the popular choice in London. Pairs from Germany, Great Britain, Cuba and China will all provide difficult competition as well.

If McCrory can win a medal, he will certainly show it to his uncle. Gordon Downie 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 will be watching McCrory from the stands Monday, as will McCrory’s parents and his brother Lucas and several other relatives and friends who have flown in from North Carolina.

McCrory said he thinks that he and Boudia can win some shade of medal, although they won’t be among the favorites. “What’s really important is being in that moment, keeping your head down and doing what you’ve trained to do,” McCrory said.

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