Greg Louganis qualified for his fourth Olympic squad Friday night, winning the 3-meter springboard competition at the U.S. Olympic diving trials.
Louganis, a double gold medalist in the 1984 Olympics, scored 1,440.52 points in the finals at the Indiana University Natatorium. Mark Bradshaw finished second with 1,375.05 points, edging Kent Ferguson by 11.10 to earn the other berth in next month's Games at Seoul.Louganis, who owns a record 47 U.S. diving titles, said he felt very different than when he made his first Olympic team in 1976. The Boca Raton, Fla., resident, the meet's oldest competitor at age 28, was only a boy when he made his Olympic debut at Montreal.
"It doesn't seem like it has been 12 years. It's really strange. It seems like yesterday," Louganis said. "It felt extremely different. I'm a different person. I was a young boy only 16 years old in 1976. I was in awe of everything. Reporters would ask me a question and I would nod my head. I've changed a lot since then."
Michele Mitchell, the 1984 Olympic silver medalist, was the top qualifier for the women's 10-meter platform finals in preliminaries Friday afternoon. Mitchell, 26, of Boca Raton, Fla., scored 447.42 points to lead the 12 scorers into Saturday night's finals. Totals from the eight preliminary dives will be combined with those from the finals to determine the two divers who will compete in Seoul.
Bruce Kimball, who faces felony charges in the deaths of two Florida teens, finished sixth. But his stronger event is the platform, in which he placed second to Louganis at the 1984 Olympics and at last month's nationals. Men's platform trials begin Saturday.
Kimball faces charges of manslaughter and injury while driving drunk. He is free on $10,000 bond, but could spend up to 45 years in prison if convicted. The charges stem from an Aug. 1 crash near Brandon, Fla.
Robert Bedell, whose 19-year-old son Robbie was killed in the crash, filed a wrongful death suit late Friday against Kimball. The suit alleges the accident was the direct result of negligence on Kimball's part.
Friends of the victims began a petition drive to have Kimball barred from the Olympic team. Six of them drove to the diving trials and stood outside the natatorium on Friday asking for signatures. The "silent six" collected 60 names, then continued their noiseless protest by watching wordlessly as Kimball performed Friday night.
"I feel a lot of animosity when I watch him. He doesn't show it hurt him," said Jennifer Beck, 17, a friend of the victims. "I find myself biting my tounge. It's tough. But I'm a bigger person than he is because I can do that."
Mitchell received the two highest scores of the women's competition with her final two dives. She scored 79.68 points on a back 1 1/2 somersault with 3 1/2twists and received 76.14 points on a forward 3 1/2 somersault, which included one perfect score of 10.
"I wasn't trying to do anything spectacular. I just wanted to land on my head. I felt good when I hit the water," Mitchell said.
Wendy Williams was second after preliminary dives with 444.21 points. Mary Fischbach, who missed an Olympic berth on the 3-meter springboard event by eight-tenths of a point, was third with 435.33 points.