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02 Aug 1952
Helsinki 1952

McCormick maintains US dominance on the springboard

While still just a child Pat McCormick was performing dives that were supposed to be beyond the reach of any woman. Incorporating dives off a Californian bridge into her training regime, the youngster was never intimidated by the height of the platform or the size of the stage, and she arrived at the 1952 Games full of confidence.

McCormick's first event was the women's springboard. American divers had taken every Olympic medal in the event since it was introduced in 1920. Six Games, 18 medals, all won by one nation!

In Helsinki, though, that run came to an end. A French athlete, Mady Moreau, pushed McCormick hard in the qualifying jumps and kept up the pressure throughout the final dives.
McCormick, though, was never headed in the standings, and ended up winning gold by a comfortable margin of 147.30 points to Moreau’s 139.34, which was good enough for silver.

Three days after her springboard victory, McCormick was back in action for the platform competition. The dominance of the American women in this event was nearly as complete – and they had taken at least gold and silver medals in every Olympics since 1924.

Another US clean sweep looked on the cards, as McCormick’s biggest rivals for the platform gold were her countrywomen, Juno Irwin and Paula Jean Myers. However, she proved too strong for them, scoring first or second in each of the qualifying dives and then placing third and first in the two dives in the final round. Myers claimed the silver, while Irwin, who was three months pregnant with her second child, won the bronze.

Four years later McCormick cemented her place as one of her sport's greatest athletes by repeating her double gold performance in Melbourne, a feat that had never been matched in women's diving. 

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