Posts tagged "US Diving"

The power of passion

I’ve attended and watched many sporting events in my lifetime, but there have been very few occasions where I was nervous. For example, when my Packers stomped the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, I was nervous the entire game. Or when the Cubs won the… yeah, never mind. But for the first time in my life, I was nervous watching U.S. Olympic Diving. Why? Because I made a friend.

By now, most of you know I’ve spent my entire life growing up on a dairy farm, and believe it or not we did have a television, so I was able to watch the Olympics growing up. I remember watching Shawn Johnson and Nastia Luikin win in Beijing back in 2008. But as I watched Diver Thomas Finchum try to make his comeback during the prelims for the U.S. Diving Trials last week, it was different. I knew him. I knew his story. I had told it. I knew what he had been through to make it back to the diving trials and I knew how much it meant to him to make it to London. It wasn’t just him though; it was all of the divers competing for their spot in London. I had interviewed them as well. I knew all of their stories.

As I watched the diving trials at 1 a.m. with my two farm dogs, Barney and Duke, that’s when I realized that this trip to London isn’t about our group; it’s about them.  They’re the ones making the sacrifices, and we’re telling their stories. As much as I wanted Finchum to qualify for the Olympics so I could do another story on him for BSU at the Games, I wanted him to qualify for himself more.  My stomach turned every time he did another dive. My mom even asked why I kept screaming from the living room at 1:30 a.m. and my answer came easy—each story I do on these amazing athletes gives me an insight into how passionate they are. They get little recognition, but they don’t let it faze them. They want London more than anything.

Finchum didn’t qualify for London, finishing third place in the finals. The top two travel to the games. I know he was heart-broken, and so was I. When you spend months getting to know these athletes, their success means so much more. And when they come up just short, it hurts the same. Since the trials, Finchum has announced his retirement from the sport of diving. He’ll never get his chance to go back to the Olympics, and yet his spirit never wavered. He said on Twitter, “Today has been filled with so many emotions… one chapter of my life is almost over, but there’s so much more to come with @Northern_Nights.” He’s right.

A wise man once told me it’s about building relationships and getting to know the people whose story you’re telling. For years Thomas Finchum was an amazing Olympic diver. Not enough people know that he’s a lead singer of an up-in-coming country band called Northern Nights. I just hope the story I did on Thomas and Northern Nights has made some kind of impact, because I know it’s impacted me. I’ve invested so much into the 2012 Olympic Games, and because of that I’ll never look at them the same. My friends will be out there representing the United States of America in London, and I’ll be cheering as loud as I possibly can for them to fulfill their dreams. 

Josh Blessing | Sports Reporter

@JoshJBlessing

Daily Video: David Boudia Promo | USA Diving

BSU at the Games daily video series featuring Team USA athletes.

David Boudia Promo – USA Diving

Daily Video: Toby Stanley | USA Diving

BSU at the Games daily video series featuring Team USA athletes.

Toby Stanley – USA Diving

Daily Video: Steele Johnson | USA Diving

BSU at the Games daily video series featuring Team USA athletes.

Steele Johnson – USA Diving

Photo of the week: Olympic diver David Boudia

David Boudia has been a member of the U.S. National Diving Team since 2000 and competed in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the 10-meter platform and synchronized 10-meter platform (with partner Thomas Finchum). He’s currently attending Purdue University and training for this summer’s Games.

Look for our story on Boudia, coming soon!

US Diving's David Boudia at practice

First Lady Michelle Obama to attend Team USA Media Summit

USOCThe United States Olympic Committee  announced First Lady Michelle Obama will join U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls at the USOC’s 2012 Team USA Media Summit in Dallas on May 14 to announce a commitment to get more American children active in support of her Let’s Move! Initiative to solve the problem of childhood obesity.

Last week, Mrs. Obama spoke at the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Warrior Games and this summer she will lead the Presidential Delegation to the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The first lady is working to turn the inspiration of the Olympic Games into action by getting more kids healthy and active.

“We’re incredibly honored to have Mrs. Obama join us in Dallas to celebrate the accomplishments of America’s finest athletes and announce new ways we can all work together to increase access to sport for young children,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “The Let’s Move! Initiative is an important one and something the entire Olympic family in the United States is eager to support.”

The Team USA Media Summit is a three-day opportunity for print, broadcast, internet and photo journalists to conduct interviews and photo sessions with Team USA’s top Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls just months prior to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The USOC has hosted a Media Summit each Olympic year since 1988. Previous host cities include Atlanta, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Houston, New York City and Salt Lake City.

BSU at the Games members Josh Blessing, Emily Barker, Pat Boylan, Brandon Pope and Emily Thompson, along with instructors Ryan Sparrow and Chris Taylor, will be attending the Media Summit in Dallas. 

Updates from the event will be available at www.london.bsuatthegames.com, www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames and through Twitter @bsuatthegames.

Courtesy USOC Media Relations

 

USA Diving’s Thomas Finchum performs on many stages

By Josh Blessing | BSU at the Games

US Diving's Thomas Finchum

USA Diving's Thomas Finchum | Photo by: Tyler Varnau

VIDEO:  The Thomas Finchum Story

On any given afternoon, you can find Thomas Finchum standing 33 feet above a diving well. He has about two seconds to perform a perfect routine, recalling the hours of practice that have guided him to this point.

The scene happens over and over.  It has to for one of the world’s elite divers.

However, the Olympic diving stage isn’t the only stage for Finchum.  There’s another platform where he performs, but one not everyone sees—yet.

While many people spend their whole lives searching for something to strive above and beyond in, Finchum has managed to exceed in another area along with diving—his music.

“I was always singing in choir,” Finchum said while his band, Northern Nights, set up for a concert just over his shoulder. “It was always so different being in a choir. You never have the chance to stand out.

“You’re always in a big group so it was never intimidating or nerve-racking at all. Doing this, being out front and center—it’s totally different.”

The nonstop lifestyle of training for the London 2012 Olympic Games takes its toll not only physically but also mentally.

The demanding hours to be an elite athlete can be pressing, but Finchum’s dream of becoming a country music star keep him moving forward.

“He’s extremely dedicated,” said Chelsea Kogg, Finchum’s cousin and band manager.  “A lot of people get envious because he’s so good at a lot of things. People overlook everything he gives up to be good at two things in such a huge way.”

The fast-paced lifestyle the Olympian lives is evident in his musical journey too.

During summer 2011, Finchum and friends Brock Bell, Drew Beechler and Nathan Ayer formed Northern Nights. Less than six months later—Dec. 1, 2011—he celebrated his birthday by receiving a unique present.

The band’s debut single, “Baby I’m Gone,” was released on iTunes for the whole world to hear. Northern Nights officially began its music career.

“That was a pretty cool present,” Finchum said. “It was crazy. Our song was up on iTunes. The whole world could pretty much hear it.  It was that point where, well, I can’t really turn back now.”

Finchum knows there is no limit for what Northern Nights can become.  The single downloads and live performances added to his schedule weekly prove it.

“We want to do as much as we can in music,” Finchum said. “It’s a crazy industry. It’s a lot of rejection and a lot of hard times. I’m used to working hard—and I’m used to having big dreams.”

 

 

Josh Blessing is a junior telecommunications major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Josh and the BSU team at @JoshJBlessing@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.