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USA Diving Improves with First Olympic Medals Since 2000 Olympic Games

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In early July, Alan Ashley of the United States Olympic Committee predicted that the men's and women's diving teams would do much better in London than in past Olympic Games.

Ashley acts as the Chief of Sport Performance for the USOC, which means that he provides resources and support to the U.S. governing bodies, athletes and coaches, according to the USOC website.

"In diving, we haven't done well in the last few Games, or was well as we'd like to, I should say," Ashley said during a USOC teleconference. "But if you look at the makeup of the diving team, some of our athletes that are on the (2012) team were on elite teams, so they have that experience.

"Plus, they just have strategically worked over the last four years to be great in synchronized diving, which has then led to better performances on the individual side as well, so I'm just sure we will see some good progress there."

So far, Ashley has been correct in his prediction. On July 29, Kelci Bryant and Abby Johnston won the first diving medal for the United States since 2000 when the pair finished second in the women's 3-meter synchronized diving competition.

On July 30, David Boudia and Nick McCrory added a medal of their own when they claimed the bronze medal in the men's 10-meter synchronized diving competition.

In winning those two medals, the U.S. team claimed their first synchronized diving medals since the discipline was introduced to the Olympic Games in 2000.

The medal from Bryant and Johnston was the first on the women's side since the 2000 Olympic Games, when Laura Wilkinson won gold in the 10-meter platform competition.

By comparison, the medal from Boudia and McCrory was the first for the U.S. in men's competition since Mark Lenzi won a bronze on the 3-meter springboard in 1996. In fact, according to USA Today, Scott Donie in 1992 was the last American to win a platform medal at the Olympic Games.

It's a move in the right direction for USA Diving, and Steve Foley, the high-performance director of USA Diving hopes other Team USA divers will be able to build on that success.

"Now, they don't have to say, 'Oh, I have to worry about getting a medal to get the monkey off our backs,'" Foley told the Associated Press. "It takes a bit of stress off those to follow."

Sandra Johnson is a longtime Olympic fan. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46

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