With memories of her appearance at the U.S. Olympic Diving Trials still fresh, Krysta Palmer had some flashbacks to some of her competitive days in another sport Tuesday night when she watched the American gymnastics women win their Olympic team gold medal Rio de Janeiro.
Palmer is a 2010 Douglas High graduate who graduated from the University of Nevada in May. She competed as a gymnast and in 2003 was named to the U.S. Gymnastics TOPs team before a knee injury ended her Olympic aspirations in that sport.
Nevertheless, she was still elated to watch Tuesday’s competition on television.
“That was great,” she said of the U.S. gold medal performance. “That team is so strong, it’s amazing to me. And they all bring something totally different to the plate.”
The U.S. women have won all five Olympic or world team championships since 2011.
“It’s pretty exciting that they’re carrying on the tradition,” Palmer said. “They’re very, very strong athletes.”
Palmer, who earned back-to-back Mountain West Conference Diver of the Year honors in 2015-16, was encouraged by her own results at the U.S. Olympic Diving Trials held in June in Indianapolis. She partnered with 13-year-old Tarrin Gilliland of Liberty Hill, Texas to take fourth-place in the women’s synchronized 10-meter platform diving (one team qualified for Rio) and was ninth in the individual platform event.
Synchronized diving was a new adventure for Palmer, who first met Gilliland in April.
“I’ve only trained with her for only two months, so it was really cool for both of us to do so well and qualify to the finals,” she said.
What goes into creating a successful synchronized diving pairing?
“There’s a lot,” Palmer said. “The size of the athletes matters. You have to be similar body types, similar weight and height, leg length is important because some of the somersaults we’re doing are in a pike position. You want to have similar styles and a similar look when you do your flips.”