Former University of Michigan diver Bruce Kimball finished third in the men's platform qualifiers Saturday and needs to improve only one spot during Sunday's finals to make the 1988 Olympic team.
ABC will televise the finals live, beginning at 3 p.m. EDT.Kimball, the silver medalist in the platform at the 1984 Olympic Games, dived first in the 11-man lineup and finished with a score of 626.67 points - his personal best this year.
The total left Kimball, 25, just 4.5 points behind second-place Matt Scoggin (631.17) and 28.5 behind leader Greg Louganis (655.19). Mike Wantuck, former Ohio State diver, ended the day in fourth with 613.32.
Only the top two finishers after today's 10 dives make the U.S. team. Louganis has never lost in four Olympic trials, stretching back to his 1976 debut at age 16.
Though Kimball again declined to speak to the press Saturday, his father and coach, Dick, stood in. When asked if Bruce would pull out of the Olympics if he made the team, his father said: "I would say no. He wouldn't be here putting himself through what he's been putting himself through if he was going to decline. ... Nobody talked to me about it from U.S. Diving or the USOC (United States Olympic Committee). Not a word."
Outsiders wondered how Bruce would compete at the trials knowing he faces an Aug. 26 arraignment on five drunken-driving charges, including two counts of manslaughter. Late Friday, Kimball was also named a defendant in a wrongful death suit filed by the parents of Robbie Bedell, one of the two boys killed when Kimball's car plowed into a crowd in Brandon, Fla.
But Saturday's performance should have put all the questions about Kimball's diving to rest.
Except for trouble completing the final revolution on his sixth attempt - a forward, piked 3 1/2 somersault - he consistently scored from 8.5 to 9.5 on a scale of 10. Again, no incidents or derogatory shouts disturbed him during his performance - "The diving community would not let that happen," Dick Kimball said - and the crowd seemed supportive, judging from applause and cheers.
"I'm very much pleased at this point. I think the diving world is behind him," Dick Kimball said. "Bruce did extremely good today. He missed one dive but had nine other outstanding dives. I'm not sure he's put what happened out of his mind. But as long as Bruce has dived, it's like a built-in conditioned reflex. When he gets on the board, he doesn't have to think about his dive. It's just a matter of letting your body do what it's done for the past 21 years.
"I think the crowd support has helped him very much right now. He knows what he has to face ahead. Diving is one thing he can hold on to."