Krysta Palmer Wins Bronze on 3-meter, First Female Diving Medal for USA Since 2000

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Photo Courtesy: USA Diving

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Krysta Palmer Wins Bronze on 3-meter, First Female Diving Medal for USA Since 2000

Krysta Palmer earned the Bronze Medal in the 3-Meter Women’s Springboard today at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This marks the first time a U.S. female has medaled in the event since Kelly McCormick took Bronze in Seoul in 1988 as well as the first female individual medal for the U.S. in Diving since Laura Wilkinson took home the Gold on platform in 2000.

“We have really strong springboard divers in the USA right now and if it wasn’t me, it could have been one of them,” Krysta Palmer said. “I think that just carrying that level to the international stage has been exciting. For me, I think adding my 5154, my last dive with high difficulty, that really helps me gain a little bit of the edge and that’s my favorite dive, so I think that it’s just exciting to make a little bit of history.

“I’m really proud of our team. We’re so supportive of each other and have really stood by each other through each day that we’re here. It’s been such a positive team and I think that’s exciting.”

China’s Shi Tingmao won the gold medal, continuing China’s dominance on the boards as teammate Wang Han earned the silver.

Palmer, who didn’t find diving until 20 years old, began her second competition of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games with a shaky start in prelims, yet quickly found her rhythm as she headed into the semifinals the following day and qualified for finals in the fifth position. As she stepped on the boards for her first dive in the final round, an expression of calmness washed over her face. As Palmer worked through her list, she proceeded to not score lower than a 7 on any of her dives quickly moving into medal contention after the third round where she nailed her Reverse 2 ½ Somersaults Pike for 8’s and 8.5’s scoring a total of 73.5 points for that round.

“I am in shock. This is more than I ever could have asked or imagined and I’m just grateful. Grateful that I made it into finals in the first place and really that was my mindset going into it, be grateful that you’re in an Olympic Finals. I think having that gratitude in the back of my mind really kept me positive and uplifted and now I just get to live out that happiness,” she said.

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Her final dive, a forward 3 ½ somersaults 2 twists with a 3.4 degree of difficulty is rarely performed by female divers and the only other female to perform it or any dive over a 3.1 degree of difficulty in the final round was Canada’s Jennifer Abel. Palmer earned 7’s and 7.5’s on the dive giving her a total score for the round of 73.10. Her final score for the competition was 343.75, five points behind silver medalist Wang Han of China, who had 348.75. Han’s teammate, Shi Tingmao, was dominant, scoring 383.50 to win by almost 35 points.

“I think I really shook the nerves off in prelims and I know coming out of prelims really you just have to fight through it. I think really shaking my nerves off helped me come into semifinals knowing that I needed to relax more and have more fun and really then I can dive better,” Krysta Palmer said. “So I think coming into today knowing that I’ve made it into finals in the first place really set my hopes up so I really tried to dance and have fun because I’m here in the first place and I’m really grateful for that.”

Eighteen-year-old Hailey Hernandez also competed in the 3-meter finals today placing ninth. Hernandez, an incoming freshman at the University of Texas-Austin, was one of only two 18-year-olds to compete in the competition.

“This has just been so amazing; I’ve learned so much and gotten so much experience and grown as an athlete. So just being able to come out here and compete on the Olympic stage has been really special,” Hernandez said. “(My family has) all been celebrating and supporting me. Actually, a local restaurant opened up late in the middle of the night for all of them so the whole city was gathered together. I’ve been so overwhelmed with support and love and seeing everyone want gather together to cheer us on has been amazing.”

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