The Road to Rio - 2016 Olympic Games
The 2016 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! My goal is to be a member of the United States Diving Olympic Team! I want to compete in both the 10 meter platform individual and synchronized events.
This is my team at the National Training Center.
John Wingfield is on the left and Mr. Wong is on the right.
I have been diving since I was 7 years old. I started diving in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Tim O'Brien, the son of Dr. Ron O'Brien is the man who "discovered" me during a summer camp. Dr. O'Brien was Greg Louganis' coach. Even though I don't see him very often, I will never forget the coach who really got me excited about diving -- Evan Linette. Evan was one of the coaches for the Fort Lauderdale Diving Team. Dave Burgering was the head coach. Dave coached the older divers and Evan coached the little kids. Evan use to pick me up from school every day and take me to diving practice. He was like a big brother to me and he believed in me. He always told me I was going to be a great diver one day. I remember when he taught me how to do a back line-up from the 3 meter tower. He would hold my feet so I wouldn't pike over. He always said, "point your toes, ding-dong!" I hope Evan will come to Rio to watch me dive, because I want to show him that I did what he always said I would do.
My dads like to call this picture the "Where's Jordan" picture --
like the "Where's Waldo" pictures...
I went to school at Virginia Shuman Young Elementary School and then I went to Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale. I was on the Pine Crest Diving Team for a little while. My coach at Pine Crest was Janet Gabriel. Janet was amazing at teaching me how to perfect the basics of diving. She taught me how to visualize my dives and improve my form. I learned a lot from Janet.
John Wingfield, the Head Coach at the USA Diving National Training Center spoke with my dad and they decided that the best place for me to train would be at the NTC in Indianapolis, Indiana. We talked to Janet about it, and she agreed that it would be the best place for me to be. My dad and I spoke to Greg Louganis and he agreed. Before we knew it, we were on our way to Indianapolis. We arrived in Indiana in November, 2010. It was a very cold winter. I had never really seen the snow, and boy, did we get a lot of snow. Thankfully, we trained at the Natatorium at IUPUI (Indiana University, Purdue University Indianapolis). It is an indoor pool!
The first year I was here, I qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials at the World Synchronized Diving Trials. I was only 12 years old. We finished in 5th place at the USA Diving Senior National Diving Championships in 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
I dove at the USA Diving Olympic Team Trials in Seattle, Washington in June, 2012. It was such a great experience. Even though I didn’t make the 2012 Team, just competing with those amazing divers was incredible. I got a surprise also. I was told someone wanted to meet me after the competition – the security people took me over to meet a kid – it was Bill Gate’s son, Rory! He was just about my age. That was very cool!
After the Olympic Team Trials, the National Training Center was disbanded. John Wingfield decided to coach up at Indiana University. I tried to make the commute for a while, but it was not possible to do that and get my school work finished. My dads and I talked about it and then we asked Sean McCarthy, who is the Head Coach at Indiana International School of Diving if he would coach me at IUPUI. Sean said he would – and with Sean’s amazing coaching, I won the Jr. National Championship on Platform and then won the Gold Medal at the Jr. Pan American Championships in Tucson, Arizona! It was my first international medal and I was proud to represent the United States! In October, 2013, my parents talked to me about another move. They thought it would be best for our family to move to North Carolina and I would train at Duke University with Nunzio Esposto. I didn’t want to leave Sean and my friends at IISD, but we had family in North Carolina and I was excited to go where it was warmer.
I am now training at Duke University. I have met some great friends and I have a blast diving for Nunzio. We went to CAMO in Montreal, Quebec, and I won 2 Gold Medals and 1 Silver Medal. I injured my triceps a little and so I wasn’t able to compete at the US Winter National Championships, but I am looking forward to competing in 2014! I will be working hard over the winter.
One thing my parents have always told me is that there are never any guarantees. I am happy they are giving me the opportunity to train with the best coaches in the Country and I love that I am competing against divers around the world. My goal is to make the US Olympic Diving Team in 2016, and 2020 – Rio may be a long-shot, but, if it wasn’t then it wouldn’t be a dream, right? I will keep everyone posted as I chase my dream...the road is going to be long, but it is the ROAD TO RIO and then the HIGHWAY TO TOKYO!
Greg Louganis is giving me some advice after a dive at the 2012 USA Diving Winter National Championships.
Diving synchro 3 meter springboard at the 2011 USA Diving Winter National Championships.