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July 20, 1984 - Image 18

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1984-07-20

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Page 18 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, July 20, 1984
Encore.

1980 boycott behind her,
Seufert gets 2nd chance

By PAUL HELGREN
Not long ago Chris Seufert stood patien-
tly in line at the White House to meet
President Carter. As a member of the
boycotting 1980 U.S. Olympic team the
former Michigan diver accepted Car-
ter's congratulations, as well as a
congressional medal. The medal was
only temporary consolation, however.
Seufert had a different ornament on her
mind.
"When I got my medal," re-
called the 27-year-old springboard ar-
tist, " I thought - this isn't the medal I
want."
SEUFERT, quite frankly, wanted the
gold.
Four years after the disappointment
of 1980, Seufert earned what she says
will be her final chance to reach the
pinnacle in her sport. She is America's
second diver in the three-meter
springboard and will hit the water
against the world's best August 5-6.
Like many Olympic athletes Seufert
remembers the American boycott
with resentment. The United States led
a western boycott of the Moscow
Olympics to protest the Soviet invasion
of Afghanistan. That decision proved to
be one of the most unpopular of the Car-
ter regime, especially among the
athletes.
"AT FIRST," Seufert explained in a
recent telephone interview, "I thought,
well I'm an American and I should sup-
port it. But in the long run it didn't
prove anything. It only proved the
power of the president over the
athletes."
Denied her chance for Olympic glory,
Seufert got back up on the board and
began working toward the next Olym-
piad. She quit her job at Chelsea High
School last December to concentrate
full time on diving. Her devotion paid
off earlier this month at the U.S. diving
trials in Indianapolis when she finished
second to Ohio State's Kelly McCor-
mick to qualify for the games.
Her mentor, Michigan and co-
Olympic diving coach Dick Kimball
thinks that the letdown of '80 may have
ultimately improved her chances for a
medal.
"THE FACT that she made the
Olympic team in 1980 has a lot to do
with the fact that she's still around,"
said Kimball, who first coached Seufert
at his camp in Brandon, Fla. in 1974.
"It's given her incentive."
"Dick Kimball said it might be a
blessing in disguise for me," said

Seufert, a native of Ambler, Pen-
nsylvania. "He told me I hadn't
reached my potential yet."
Kimball draws parallels between
Seufert's situation and that of a former
Kimball diver, 1972 gold medalist Micki
King. King broke her arm on a dive at
the '68 Olympics in Mexico City but

looks and everything. That made me
feel pretty good."
If Seufert is to match King's
achievement, she must better her own
teammate, McCormick. Seufert, who
calls McCormick "my buddy," likens
their relationship to that of Bruce Kim-
ball and Greg Louganis - competitors
most of the time, but teammates at
Olympic time. She and McCormick
have discussed the possibility of a 1-2
American finish at L.A.
"Oh, yeah. We've thought about that.
After the trials we looked at each other
and said, 'Bring on the Chinese.' We
were ready."
SEUFERT SEEMS to exemplify the
ideal teammate. As the oldest athlete in
the Kimball Divers group, she relishes
her leadership role. Whether she makes
cookies for the other 15 Kimball divers
before a meet, or just wishes them good
luck, Seufert enjoys the close, family-
like relationship the athletes share.

Often she speaks of fellow teammates
in such glowing terms, an outsider is
apt to misinterpret her. One recent
story referred to Seufert and teammate
Ron Merriott as "sweethearts." Seufert
denied any romantic interest between
the two divers.
"Ron and I are teammates and we're
really close," she said. "We really care
for each other. But I wouldn't say that
we're boyfriend and girlfriend.
"I think I told someone I really care
for Ron and they interpretted that as
saying he was my boyfriend. Maybe .1
shouldn't have said that. I don't think
my personal life should be in the papers
anyway."
What Seufert would rather see in the
papers one day very soon is the news
that after 10 years of diligent labor, and
four extra years of waiting, Chris
Seufert finally got the medal she wan-
ted.

0

i

came back four years later to capture
the gold at Munich.
SEUFERT IS hoping for a similar
comeback. "When I first met Dick
Kimball," she said, "he told me how
much I reminded him of Micki King.
Not just in my diving style, but my

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6
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Chris Seufert (right) chats with Olympic gold medalist Micki King earlier this year. Seufert has been compared
favorably to the former Michigan diver by coach Dick Kimball, who was also King's mentor. The comparison suits
Seufert just fine.

Michigan Olympians

NAME
Fernando Canales
(Assistant swim coach)
Benoit Clement (junior)
Melinda Copp ('83 graduate)
Brian Diemer ('83 graduate)
Doug Herland (former 'M'
rowing club coach)
Bruce Kimball (junior)
Barry Larkin (junior)
Ron Merriott (former
'M' diver)
Carl Schueler ('M' graduate)
Chris Seufert ('78 graduate)

EVENT
100-m freestyle
800-m freestyle relay
200-m backstroke
3000-m steeplechase
men's pair rowing
10-m platform diving
baseball (demonstration sport)
3-m springboard diving
50-km walk
3-m springboard diving

TEAM

Puerto Rico
Canada
Canada
U.S.A.
U.S.A.
U.S.A.
U.S.A.
U.S.A.
U.S.A.
U.S.A.

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I

Copp
. .. Canadian backstroker

Diemer
... chasing the Olympic dream

.

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