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Craig Neff
August 29, 1988
Greg Louganis starred again at the Olympic trials, which were touched by controversy
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August 29, 1988

Flying Over Troubled Waters

Greg Louganis starred again at the Olympic trials, which were touched by controversy

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The sixth round was Ferguson's downfall. He nicked his toes on the board on an inward 2� pike and got scores as low as 5.0 instead of his usual 8.5's. At six feet, Ferguson is tall for a diver, and it may have cost him. "If he had been two inches shorter, he'd have made the team," said his coach, O'Brien.

Bradshaw finished with a flourish—scoring five 9.0's on his last dive—to claim second, 1,375.05 to 1,363.95. He was greeted with hugs from McCormick, Panzano and a woman in an extra-large T-shirt labeled BRADSHAW'S WIFE AND BABY. Lisa Bradshaw, who is due to give birth on Sept. 12, has helped her sometimes intense husband to stop thinking about diving 24 hours a day. "It's down to about 18," he admits.

Thinking can sometimes be a diver's downfall. Platform winner Mitchell and runner-up Williams both had to overcome psychological hang-ups to make the team. Mitchell, 26, the '84 Olympic silver medalist, began having mental and physical trouble last year with her inward 3� tuck, one of the high-D.D. dives that had carried her to a U.S.-record score of 479.40 in 1985. The inward 3� can be frightening—"as you do it, this is what passes the edge of the platform," says O'Brien, tapping his forehead—and for Mitchell it became a phobia that started ruining her other dives as well. Mitchell dropped the dive in mid-July and replaced it with an inward 2� pike. The change boosted her to scores of 447.42 and 466.26 in Indy, good enough to beat Williams by 6.81.

Williams quit platform diving for six months in 1986 because, as she puts it, "It scared me to death." She reexamined her reasons for diving and came back in '87 with a have-fun attitude. (She gradually got comfortable on the platform by sunbathing on it.)

Only after Jeffrey pulled off his upset and the Kimball controversy died down on Sunday evening could the seven newly chosen U.S. Olympic divers gather for relaxed conversation and a team photo. Someone asked Louganis if he had any advice for the younger team members. "The worst part is over," Louganis said, with a gentle smile. "Qualifying for the team is just so nerve-racking. Now we can get together as a team and support each other."

None of the divers had to state the obvious: In that very real world outside of sport, the worst is not over for their friend Bruce Kimball.

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