LONDON - Before the men’s diving 3-meter synchronized springboard final on Wednesday afternoon, Troy Dumais received text messages from his three brothers, who were back home in the U.S.
The texts said: “Go get the medal you deserve.”
Dumais and partner Kristian Ipsen did just that, earning a bronze medal to give Team USA its third diving medal in three finals.
The medal was especially significant for Dumais, a 32-year-old who is competing in his fourth Olympic Games. Dumais has earned medals from world championships, Pan American Games, world cups and national meets. But at the Olympics, Dumais has never finished higher than sixth in individual competition or fourth in synchro -- until now.
“A lot of people not medaling in their second Olympics or third Olympics might have hung up their Speedo,” said Dumais’ coach, Matt Scoggin. “He still had the drive left in him, when other people told him it was the time to retire. He refused to give up. And I’m so proud of him for hanging in there and getting what he really wanted.”
China won all four synchronized diving gold medals in London as Qin Kai and Luo Yutong won the 3-meter synchro with 477.00 points. Ilya Zakharov and Evgeny Kuznetsov of Russia took the silver at 459.63. Ipsen and Dumais scored 446.70.
Prior to these games, Team USA was in a 16-year medal drought in men’s diving. Now, the squad has two medals in men’s synchronized diving and one medal in women’s synchronized diving. The three medals are the first-ever synchronized diving medals Team USA has ever won.
In recent years, the U.S. has placed more emphasis on synchronized diving. The plan worked out.
“There had been certain world meets where things hadn’t gone right and we were trying to figure out our teams and who was going to be together, and that’s why I think people questioned us,” said 19-year-old Ipsen, who won a national title this year at Stanford. “Now it’s obviously proving itself. The three synchro teams we have here all had medals. We’re all super excited about it.”
During the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Ipsen and Dumais changed their routine a bit. The duo usually preformed their hardest dive, the reverse 2 1/2 somersault, 1 1/2 twist, last. Dumais said he tends to struggles with that dive, and actually hit the springboard while preforming it a couple years ago. He still has scars.
At the trials, they changed up the order, preforming that dive fourth instead.
On Wednesday, they used the same order. And when it came to the fourth dive, they nailed it, scoring their highest score of the day, 90.09.
Scoggins said once he saw Ipsen and Dumais nail round four, he knew they had a legitimate chance to medal.
“I was expecting an 83 or 84, and they went 90,” Scoggins said. “So I knew we just need to hit the next round, and they did. They’re really good twisters, and their last round is a twister. So they just needed to get past round five and they did a great round five.”
The duo scored an 84.70 on round five -- a reverse 3 1/2 somersault -- then scored a 86.70 on the final round to seal a spot on the podium.
In the post-competition interview, Dumais held a bouquet of flowers and an American flag in one hand. With his other hand, he continuously stroked the bronze medal he wore around his neck.
“Things happen the way they are supposed to happen,” Dumais said. “Every competition that I have competed in has taught me something more. I wouldn’t be the athlete that I am if I did give up.”