The Washington Post
Diver won gold in two successive Olympics
Pat Mccormick, who became the first diver to sweep the 3-meter and 10-meter events with Olympic gold at consecutive Games, died March 7 at an assisted-living center in Santa Ana, Calif. She was 92. Her family announced the death and told the New York Times she had dementia.
Ms. Mccormick won the springboard and platform events at the 1952 Helsinki Games. She accomplished the feat again four years later at the Games in Melbourne, Australia.
Greg Louganis equaled Ms. McCormick’s accomplishment when he won the 3-meter and 10-meter titles at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and again in 1988 at Seoul. (Ms. Mccormick’s daughter, Kelly Robertson, competed on the same Olympic teams as Louganis. She won a silver medal on springboard in 1984 and a bronze in the same event in 1988.)
Patricia Joan Keller was born in Seal Beach, Calif., on May 12, 1930. As a youngster, she was known for executing dives that weren’t allowed in competition while practicing off a bridge.
She won 26 U.S. national titles, the second most ever among U.S. women, from 1946 to 1956. She was undefeated at national championship meets in 1951 and 1954, winning all 10 titles available to women in those two years.
She won gold on platform and silver on 3-meter at the 1951 Pan American Games, and she followed up with gold on both events at the 1955 event. She won the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athlete in 1956, the second woman to do so after swimmer Ann Curtis in 1944.
After her Olympic career, Ms. Mccormick did diving tours and modeled for Catalina swimwear. She appeared on the game shows “To Tell the Truth” and “You Bet Your Life” in the 1950s and later was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
In a 1987 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ms. Mccormick spoke about the depression felt by many athletes after they have achieved their highest goals.
“Consider that some athletes have never had a conversation in their lives that didn’t have to do with swimming or diving, or running or jumping,” she said. “They’re interested only in their muscles, their times, their scores. They were conditioned from earliest childhood to point to a pinnacle of their lives occurring at age 20.”
She added that, coached for most of their lives, they suddenly have to move on without instructional help, something that can feel overwhelming.
“It’s like you were suddenly dropped off in the middle of a desert,” she told the Times. “At night. With no directions, and the stars aren’t out. . . . Lots of people can tell you how high to jump, how fast to run, how deep to dive. But nobody tells you how to fit into that larger world. A world you pretty much ignored. Or took to be unimportant.”
She said it was important to set a new trajectory, with modest but attainable goals. She attended Long Beach State College (now California State University, Long Beach), traveled around the world, bodysurfed, competed in horse jumping and earned a pilot’s license.
She served on the organizing committee for the 1984 Los Angeles Games and started the Pat McCormick Educational Foundation in 2010.
Her marriage to Glenn Mccormick, a commercial pilot and diving coach, ended in divorce. In addition to her son and daughter, Ms. Mccormick is survived by six grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren.