Boudia, Cook take hard path to earning Olympic diving spots

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Posted: Jun 26, 2016 9:26 PM
Boudia, Cook take hard path to earning Olympic diving spots

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — David Boudia and Kassidy Cook couldn't wait to share their Olympic moments Sunday.

So Boudia walked calmly to the stands and grabbed his toddler daughter from his wife, holding her up so she could celebrate with him.

Cook hugged everyone in sight.

Now the defending Olympic champion in men's 10-meter and America's comeback kid in women's 3-meter will head to Rio as teammates after winning the final events at this year's U.S. Olympic diving trials.

"The job's not done yet," Cook said shortly after making her first Olympic team after missing the team by 0.42 points in 2012. "This is just the first step. Now it's time to go to Rio and kick some butt there."

Boudia can advise the 21-year-old Texan about what to expect — and what it will take to win gold on diving's biggest stage.

And at age 27, he looks every bit as good as he did 2012.

Thy synchro 10-meter team of Boudia and Steele Johnson qualified together on Thursday. Then after finishing second in the individual 10-meter prelims, behind Johnson, Boudia took the lead in the semifinals and pulled away in the finals by scoring at least 83 points on four of his six dives to finish with a score of 1,534.4.

Johnson earned the second spot in the event by finishing with 1,475.15 points, exactly 12 more than David Dinsmore in what was the best duel in the pool all week.

Johnson spent most of the night in second place but surrendered that spot briefly to Dinsmore after Round 3. Dinsmore wound up with a 61.05 on his next dive, opening the door for Johnson who scored a 99.9 and retook second.

Dinsmore rallied for scores of 96.9 and 102.6 on his final two dives, but Johnson got an 88.4 and an 86.4 — just enough to bring Johnson to his knees and Dinsmore to tears.

"I honestly thought Dinsmore was ahead of me," Johnson said. "I thought I needed a 95 to go ahead of him, but it turned out 86 was good enough — by 12 points."

Boudia celebrated his win differently.

He cuddled his daughter, Dakoda, in his arms and repeatedly hugged and kissed her as she pointed to the fans and raised her arm as if she was acknowledging the applause for her dad. When Boudia handed his daughter back, he gave his wife, Sonnie, a kiss.

The next stop is Rio where Boudia will try to join Greg Louganis, Samuel Lee and Bob Webster as the only American men to win back-to-back Olympic golds in platform.

"What's funny is that after this competition was over, I wasn't exactly happy with it," Boudia said. "I know it's not going to cut it in Rio. So while I'm happy, I've still got a lot of work to do."

For Cook, the stakes were even higher.

After missing out on London, injuries cost here most of the next three years of training. That left Cook with less than 18 months to regain Olympic form — knowing she could be setting herself up for more heartbreak.

She didn't allow it to happen.

Cook took a solid lead into the finals and continued to pad it. She finished with a score 1,003.65, well ahead of her good friend Abby Johnston, who was part of the synchro 3-meter team that knocked Cook out of the Olympics four year earlier. Johnston, who attends medical school, claimed the second Olympic spot with 949.3 points. Laura Reedy was third at 898.8.

When it ended, all that emotion rushed out in one quick burst.

The ecstatic Cook sprinted to Johnston and gave her a hug. Coach Ken Armstrong was next in line for a hug, and then Cook sprinted up the steps to the judge's stand, hopped over the railing and into the crowd where she began hugging a large contingent of family and friends.

"I'm at a loss for words because it all happened so fast," Cook said, speaking with the pace of an auctioneer. "It's still all a blur right now but it was amazing."

Johnston, a silver medalist in London, was every bit as excited for her friend as she was about making her second Olympic team and her first in an individual event.

She even added to the diving tradition by awarding Cook her Olympic ring.

"She deserves it. It was so hard four years ago because we are such good friends, and to be the one who narrowly edged her out, it really weighed on me to see someone I cared so much about so sad," Johnston said. "I know she is going to kick butt in Rio, and I'm going to be right there with her."