Pat McCormick, diver who won two Olympic Games, dies aged 92

Pat McCormick, who became the first female jumper to win the 3-meter and 10-meter events at back-to-back Olympic gold games, died March 7 at an assisted-living center in Santa Ana, California. She was 92 years old.

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. Four years later, she accomplished the feat again at the Melbourne, Australia Games.

Greg Louganis matched Ms McCormick’s feat when he won the 3m and 10m titles at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and again in Seoul in 1988. (Ms. McCormick’s daughter, Kelly Robertson, competed on the same Olympic teams as Louganis. She won a silver medal on the springboard in 1984 and a bronze medal in the same event in 1988.)

Patricia Joan Keller was born on May 12, 1930 in Seal Beach, California. As a youth, she was known for performing jumps not allowed in competition while practicing from a bridge.

From 1946 to 1956, she won 26 US national titles, the second highest among American women.

At the 1951 Pan American Games, she won gold in platform and silver in 3 meters, and at the 1955 event, she followed with gold in both events. She won the James E. Sullivan Award for the nation’s top amateur athlete in 1956, becoming the second woman after swimmer Ann Curtis in 1944.

After the end of her Olympic career, Ms. McCormick went on scuba 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 was later inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

In a 1987 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ms. McCormick spoke candidly about the depression many athletes felt after achieving their highest goals.

“Remember that some athletes have never had a conversation in their lives that wasn’t related to swimming or diving or running or jumping,” she said. “They only care about their muscles, their times, their points. They have been conditioned from an early age to point to a high point in their lives, which occurred at the age of 20.”

She added that after being trained for most of their lives, they suddenly have to continue without guidance, which can feel overwhelming.

“It’s like being suddenly dropped off in the middle of a desert,” she told the Times. “At night. With no instructions, and the stars aren’t out. … Many people can tell you how high to jump, how fast to run, how deep to dive. But nobody tells you how to get into that bigger one world. A world you pretty much ignored. Or thought unimportant.”

She said it was important to embark on a new path, with modest but achievable goals. She attended Long Beach State College (now California State University, Long Beach), traveled the world, body surfed, competed in show jumping and earned a pilot’s license.

She served on the 1984 Los Angeles Games Organizing Committee and founded the Pat McCormick Educational Foundation in 2010.

Her marriage to Glenn McCormick, a commercial pilot and dive instructor, ended in divorce. In addition to her son and daughter, Ms McCormick is survived by six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Pat McCormick, diver who won two Olympic Games, dies aged 92

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