Olympic Spotlight: Diving's Kelly McCormick and Christina Loukas

July 15, 2008

by Jeff Smith
Contributor, BigTen.org

With the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games quickly approaching, BigTen.org takes a look at both former and current Olympians who have made their mark in their respective sports.  In today's "Olympic Spotlight" feature, we take a look at the Olympic diving careers of Ohio State's Kelly McCormick and Indiana's Christina Loukas.

1984 - Los Angeles (Silver)

1988 - Seoul (Bronze)

Former Ohio State diver Kelly McCormick was not only a two-time Olympian, but a two-time medalist as well.  Some could say that McCormick's success was in the water as her mother Pat was the first female to win diving gold medals on the 3-meter springboard and 10-meter platform events in back-to-back Olympics (1952-56).  In addition, her father Glenn was a notable diving coach and his daughter's first trainer and mentor.

McCormick enrolled at Ohio State primarily to train under head coach Vince Panzanno.  In 1982, she captured an AIAW (Pre-NCAA) championship on the 3-meter springboard and earned the first of her nine national championships.  McCormick seemed poised to make a run at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles as she captured the gold medal in the 3-meter springboard at the 1983 Pan American Games.  Six weeks before the 1984 Olympic Trials, McCormick suffered a back injury that required her to be admitted to a hospital.  Remarkably, she recovered from the injury to win the Trials and went on to earn the 3-meter springboard silver medal in Los Angeles.

Just hours away from the Buckeye campus, McCormick returned to the competition at the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis.  It was there she became the first woman in Pan Am history to successfully defend her title on the springboard.  She used that momentum to battle through yet another injury-plagued Olympic Trials as this time she won on a torn calf muscle.  Months later she took Olympic bronze at the 1988 Games in Seoul.



McCormick's back problems returned and hampered her efforts in making the 1992 Games.  She finished seventh at the 1990 Goodwill Games - a sign that her best diving was behind her - and moved to Seattle with her husband in 1991 to begin coaching young aspiring divers.

Total Medals
* 1st Olympics in 2008

2008 - Beijing

There is a perfectly good explanation as to why Indiana senior Christina Loukas did not win her fourth-straight Big Ten Diver of the Year this past season.  She took the year off.  Loukas continued her academic progress in the classroom, but focused her entire year on making the Olympic team, and last month those plans came to fruition.  Loukas placed first in the 3-meter springboard event at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Indianapolis, automatically qualifying her for the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Having entered the final day of competition with a solid 48.45-point lead over second-place and former Iowa diver Nancilea Foster, Loukas averaged a score of 9.0 on her final of five dives.  She totaled 1092.10 points overall and ended the Olympic Trials 89.25 points ahead of runner-up Foster.  During the preliminary rounds, Loukas also earned 25 bonus points for finished fourth on the 3-meter springboard at the 2008 FINA World Cup in Beijing.

In addition to Loukas' World Cup performance, she earned a silver medal on the 3-meter board at the 2007 World University Games and placed first on the 1-meter at the 2007 Kaiser Permanente National Championships.

During her time in Bloomington, Loukas has earned NCAA All-America distinctions on eight occasions and has been a Big Ten Champion on the 1 and 3-meter boards and the platform.  She took home the 1-meter conference title in 2005 and 2006 and earned a clean sweep on the 1 and 3-meter boards and the platform in 2007.  In each of her three seasons at Indiana, Loukas has earned both the Big Ten Diver of the Year and of the Championships accolades.  She has also earned at least one top-five NCAA Championships finish in an event in each of her three years as well.  Loukas placed fifth on the 3-meter in 2005 and second in 2006.  That same season she placed fifth on the 1-meter and improved with a runner-up result a year later.