Page 18-Friday, September 10, 1982-The Michigan Daily
Michigan diver Kimball survives auto
accident to capture fourth U.S. title
By KARL WHEATLEY
When he was 17 years old, Michigan diver Bruce
Kimball was in his freshman year at Michigan, had
won three United States National diving titles in
tower diving competitions, and was on a hospital bed
fighting for his life.
The son of Michigan's internationally respected
diving coach Dick Kimball, the younger Kimball
didn't even see the ven that swerved into the car in
which he was riding on a drizzly early morning last
October. Kimball got the worst of the collision.
SINCE THEN, Kimball has amazed doctors and
family alike by returning to diving and finishing
second in the 10-meter tower competition at the
National Sports Festival. That qualified him to
represent the United States in the World Aquatic
Championships in Guayaquil, Ecuador where he took
third place in the 10-meter competition behind
teammate Greg Louganis and Soviet diver Vladimir
Then, on August 21, Kimball climbed on top again
as he won the 10-meter competition at the U.S.
Nationals to capture his fourth U.S. title, and keep
Louganis from sweeping the diving events.
He says he doesn't remember the accident that
gave him a ruptured spleen (which was removed), a
lacerated liver, a fractured skull, a broken leg, torn
ligaments in his knee, severe internal bleeding, and
broke every bone in his face. It took 24 hours of
surgery just to save Kimball's life and repair his
damaged body. No one was thinking about him ever
KIMBALL, HOWEVER, started thinking about
diving when he did finally get out of the hospital. His
leg was in a cast for 12 weeks, his jaw was wired shut
for 10 weeks, and he had to drink food through a
straw. Although he was to lose 35 pounds, he was
thinking about diving again.
He had to drop out of his freshman classes, which
gave him the time he needed for the weight lifting and
other rehabilitation exercises that first got him
walking again and later back on the diving board.
"It was a lot of frustration and anger," Kimball
said of his rehabilitation, "but now it seems like it
didn't even happen."
One thing Kimball admits he will remember was
the National Sports Festival 10-meter competition.
He battled through his 10 required dives trying to cat-
ch the leader, Louganis, and trying to fight off the
unexpected challenge from 18-year-old Texan Mike
Wantuck. It was the ninth of the ten dives. Kimball
needed a good dive to stay in third place and win a
spot on the squad of divers that would represent the
United States at the upcoming World Diving Cham-
HITTING THE water at around 33 m.p.h., Kimball
ripped an almost perfect reverse 2 somersault
tuck. As he came out of the water, he thrust his fist in-
to the air. His father, who had paced through much of
the competition, jumped up in the air, and his sister
rushed to kiss him. The overflow crowd of more than
5,000 gave him a thunderous ovation, and his scores
Kimball received five perfect 10s, a 9.5 and a 9.0'to
clinch second place.
On the awards stand he wore a sweatshirt his
teammates had given him for his birthday. It rea
"Kimball, the Comback Kid." Louganis, who ha
won the gold, grabbed Bruce by the waist and lifted
him up to the winner's pedestal. "In my book, he won
today," said Louganis, who has known Kimball for
almost a decade.
"EVERYBODY in the audience was crying," said
his father. "The people were incredibly responsive.
I'm very, very pleased and proud of what Bruce has
Later Kimball won, in everyone's book, when he
defeated Louganis to win the 10-meter tower com
petition at the U.S. Nationals.
Kimball admits that the second place in the
National Sports Festival will long remain in his
memory. "It felt great, obviously," said Kimball.
I'm sure I'll remember it as one of the special
moments of my diving career."
"I'VE NEVER seen Bruce any happier," said his
father about that special moment.
Now Kimball is back from his victories of the
summer, and ready to restart his freshman year her
at Michigan. He's enrolled in the School of
Education and said he hopes to transfer to LS&A at
the end of this year although he said he still isn't sure
about what he wants to go into.
The Michigan standout diver said that his knee still
bothers him a little bit when he dives springboard
events, but he is hoping that the pain will go away
with a little more rehabilitation. Of his goals for this
upcoming season, he only said that "I just want to do
a good job."
For a man who has gone from near death tc
national, champion in less than a year, such words
mean bad news for his opponents.
Sports Information Photo
MICHIGAN DIVER Bruce Kimball recovered from serious injuries
received in an auto accident to return to world-class competition. In ad-
dition to extensive internal injuries, every bone in Kimball's face was
broken in the accident.
TWO OF THE NICEST, SWEETEST GUYS
EVER TO PLAY FOOTBALL ON DRINKIN'DOWN BEER
AND EATIN' UP QUARTERBACKS
by Bubba Smith and Dick Butkus
BUBBA: Now that we're not playin'
football anymore, we spend more
time poppin' tops off cans of Lite
Beer from Miller than poppin'
DICK: But our favorite topic of con-
versation over a couple of Lite
Beers is still the art of playin'
BUBBA: Yeah. The bigger we were,
the harder they fell.
DICK: Very true. Being big helps
give you presence. What I ball
winning through intimidation.
BUBBA: But you also have to play
smart. Like watching the guy in
front of you for a tip. Sometimes the
position of a guard's feet'll tell you
where he's gonna go once the
ball is hiked. Feet can tell you a lot.
I guess that's why shoes have
DICK: But smart guys remember
they're on a team. Work with a
partner. Try to draw players, so
maybe he can get through.
This technique also works well
when you want to get a Lite Beer
in a crowded bar.
BUBBA: And drinkin' Lite Beer is one
of the smartest things you can do.
Because Lite's less fillin', so it won't
slow you down.
DICK: Sure. And even though we're
not playin' anymore, after years
of eatin' up quarterbacks, it's nice
to relax with the great taste of
BUBBA: You might say we've gone
from being heavy hitters to Lite
drinkers. Right, Mr. Butkus?
DICK: Right, Mr. Smith.
SEATTLE (AP) - Sam McCullum,
the Seattle Seahawk's player represen-
tative whose release by the National
Football League club Tuesday has
prompted strike talk by his teammates,
was claimed on waivers by the Min-
nesota Vikings Wednesday.
"I'm kind of shocked," McCullu4
said of the decision by Vikings, for
whom he played for two seasons.
"I DON'T KNOW yet," he replied
when asked if he intended to go to Min-
The release of McCullum could touch
off a strike by National Football League
players, NFL Players Association
spokesman Dave Meggyesy said Wed-
"There is a very strong potential of
strike in the league," Meggyesy said a
a news conference. "The only way the
league is going to prevent that from
happening is to reinstate Sam Mc-
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Slugger
Willie Horton is leaving the Portland
Beavers of the Pacific Coast League in
an attempt to make a comeback in the
majors, the team said yesterday.
"We will honor the request of Willie
Horton and grant him his undonitional
release in order that he pursue the op-
portunity of joining a major league
club," spokesman Rick Reed said.
Horton, 38, spent 15 years with th
Detroit Tigers and played the last two
years with the Beavers, where he was a
favorite of the fans. In the season just
ended, he belted 22 home runs and led
the Class AAA team with 82 RBI.
Horton spent most of his time at the
designated hitter post, but played
several games at first base.
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