Rio 2016 Olympics Synchronized Diving Super Fan Tells All
This article is part of a weekly series, “Untruth Tuesdays,” (coincidentally published on Wednesdays) in which I take something completely, absurdly untrue then write about it as if it weren’t.
Sorry, global warming and an ever-heating planet: This month, the world has caught Olympics fever and its temperature isn’t going down anytime soon. From Michael Phelps’ triumphant gold-metal performances in the pool to dazzling floor routines stuck by the best gymnasts around (any) town, sports that rarely catch a glimmer of mainstream media attention are suddenly given their due shine as millions watch, entranced, while Olympic champions are crowned with gold on the sunny beaches of Rio de Janeiro.
Earlier today, I sat down with synchronized diving super fan, Ariel Calumnagworthy of Urvlop, MN, who couldn’t snag a ticket to Rio but says she watches “every single game” from the floral-adorned comfort of her grandmother’s couch. During a brief but telling conversation, here’s what the alleged diving devotee revealed …
MELISSA: So, you’re a synchronized diving super fan. Talk to me about how you became so fascinated with the sport.
ARIEL: Synchronized diving is incredible. The poise, the elegance, the—as Sting might say—synchronicity of it all … I don’t swim much in Minnesota but seeing these divers on TV, I can’t get enough! They’re amazing! This sport is like, my life!
Totally! And how long have you been such a huge fan of synchronized diving?
About three days.
No, maybe four or five … Since the start of the Olympics. Whenever that was.
And before then?
Before then what?
Synchronized diving doesn’t just happen during the Olympics. These divers have been in countless tournaments, vying for a chance to even set foot inside the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre in Rio to represent their countries.
Oh, yeah? I thought this was an every four years kind of thing …
Nope, it’s actually a year-round, real sport.
Huh! Who knew?
As a super fan, I’d guess you but OK, switching gears here a little bit, you mentioned the athleticism of the divers. Who’s your favorite male or female synchronized diver to hit the Rio pool? Anyone we should be watching who’s really on fire these games?
Yeah, the shorter ones are the better divers. They seem super athletic and they can do more of the turny-twisty stuff that I like. Also, everyone out there better be watching anyone on Team USA because U-S-A, U-S-A!
Let me just recap for a second: What you’re saying is, you don’t have a favorite synchronized diver but like the shorter ones? Can you name one diver on the USA team? On any team?
Great. Why don’t you just name any synchronized diver at all who is competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio …
I have two favorites … I don’t know their names or anything but the divers who wear the little blue stripey bathing suits and kind of kick off hard before they dive … those two are definitely awesome.
You mean David Boudia and Steele Johnson?
Is that a Brazilian band?
Moving on … China is currently 3-for-3 in competition with stunning wins by Chen Ruolin and Lui Huixia for the women, and I’m sure as you know, Hen Aisen and Lin Yue took gold for the men, finishing with an incredible score of 496.98 at the synchronized 10-meter platform event. Any thoughts about the dominant performance of Team China?
When those Chinese divers dove, all high up from that stick on the ladder or whatever …
Diving board …
Yup, the diving board. Then they kind of, jumped up and landed in the pool—at the same exact time—that was like, insane!
Insane. Certainly. Last question: As a synchronized diving super fan, how has the sport inspired you in your own life? Synchronized diving has really taught me to dive in and forget my fears because no matter what happens, there will always be a hot, bubbling Jacuzzi waiting on the other side. And if there isn’t a Jacuzzi, then I’m probably not synchronize diving.