At Melbourne in 1956 the judging was so bad that fans booed loud and long. "A Russian woman and a Hungarian judge were in collusion," says Clotworthy. who won the gold medal in the springboard event that year. "It was the worst judging I've ever seen."
Their complaints were ignored.
"That same Russian woman who was judging in Helsinki was a judge in Rome," said Dr. Sammy Lee, U.S. winner of gold medals in high diving in 1948 and 1952. "She was favoring her people over the others again."
This time something was done. "After the first four dives, Phil Moriarity [coach of the U.S. men divers] and I officially protested," said Dr. Lee, drawing himself up to his full 5 feet 1� inches. "No one wanted to believe us and we said we would apologize if we were wrong. Her scores were checked and she was removed from the judging immediately."
But the woman may be back. She is still listed by FINA as an approved official. So will some American judges who, according to Dr. Lee, err in the opposite direction. "Our judges," he says, "try to be like Uncle Sam—help others. And like all Olympic judges they try to stick to the middle. They won't score a bad dive as low as it should be nor a good dive as high as it should be. So it is hard for a good diver to pull away from a bad one and if he has one really bad dive he's liable to lose."
These problems may become aggravated because of the U.S.'s long domination of the sport. As Hobie Billingsley, the Indiana diving coach, says, "It's human nature to root for the underdog, so when anyone good comes along to challenge our divers they jump on him and yell their heads off. They want to see someone besides an American get that gold medal. To win in Tokyo we will have to be supreme."
Well, supreme it will be, despite the built-in alibis. The divers are saying nothing. They are getting ready.