Jul 3, 2012
Durham, N.C. — The 2012 Olympics in London open in 25 days, and a pair of Duke divers has qualified for the games.
Abby Johnston’s Olympic dream began 16 years ago, when she was still a little kid in her parents’ living room
"When I was 6 years old, I watched the 1996 Olympic team, the gymnastics team, and Kerri Strug made that amazing vault. I told my parents, 'I'm going to the Olympics,' and they said, 'Oh, that's cute,'" said Johnston.
She made good on that promise, but only after switching from gymnastics to diving. Now Johnston and her Duke teammate Nick McCrory are USA teammates. Both are London-bound after qualifying for the US Olympic team.
"It's a really great feeling when you know you've nailed a dive, you know you hit the water and everything feels effortless. Jumping off 10 meters, it hurts when you hit the water. If it feels completely smooth and easy, you know you've done a good dive," said McCrory.
McCory’s qualified in the 10-meter platform and the 10-meter synchronized events, while Johnston will compete in 3-meter synchronized.
Those synchronized events are tandem jumps – but both McCrory and Johnston practice separately from their event partners.
"It really comes down to working out the timing when we're together, and then once we've got that figured out, we can go our separate ways," said McCrory.
Both divers took a year off from Duke to chase their Olympic dreams, and the work has paid off.
"This is obviously a huge dream for me. It's what I've been shooting for my entire life, so I'm excited to make it," said McCrory.
"I obviously want to have a medal around my neck. That's the ultimate goal," said Johnston.
Team USA will have a bit of red, white and Duke blue in the pool this summer, with a pair of Duke divers going for the gold.