Dipped In Bronze
Synchro Team of Loukas & Miller Win Bronze, Team USA Finishes with Three Medals
Aug. 18, 2007
By Jamie Fabos
World University Games Press Officer
BANGKOK, Thailand - Christina Loukas (Riverwoods, Ill. / Indiana) won a silver and bronze medal on the final day of competition at the World University Games in Bangkok today. Loukas first claimed the silver medal in the women's 3m springboard and returned to the medal stand with synchro partner Amanda Miller (Centreville, Va. / Purdue) as the duo won bronze in the women's 3m synchro. The U.S. dive team finished the 2007 World University Games with three medals (1s, 2b).
Loukas entered the 3m springboard as the third seed. The Indiana senior opened her program with a 63-point inward 2 ½ somersault pike, placing her in fifth place after the first round. After moving up to fourth in the second round, Loukas executed a back 2 ½ somersault pike in round three for 67.50 points, moving her into third place.
The eight-time NCAA All-American continued her climb in the fourth round with a 70.5-point reverse 2 ½ somersault pike that elicited a roar from the crowd and launched her into second place. Loukas concluded her program with a forward 2 ½ somersault, 1 twist pike for 67.50 points to secure the silver medal with 328.95 total points.
"I'm really excited," said Loukas. "Coming into this I was very nervous, but I just tried to take it one dive at time, and it was helpful having the whole team behind me, cheering and just being really supportive.
"It's definitely a boost of confidence, because these people are the ones that I'll be competing against if I make the Olympic Team. It's a great motivator because now I know I can compete with them."
The gold medal went to China's Ting Li (363.85) while Paola Milagros Espinosa of Mexico (319.50) won bronze.
The next Americans to the medal stand were Loukas and Miller, who won the bronze medal in the women's 3m syncho with 319.80 points. The duo will continue training together for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
"This is our high score by about 20 points, so we're both really, really excited about how we did," said Loukas. "It shows us that we can compete with these people being a newer synchro team, so it's definitely going to help us confidence-wise."
The U.S. duo led the first round with a score of 52.20 on an inward dive pike, and ranked third after the second round. They put some distance between themselves and fourth-place Japan with their fourth dive, a back 2 ½ somersault pike that earned them 72.00 points for a 12-point cushion and a total score of 244.20. Diving last in the final round, Loukas and Miller needed 53.7 points to reach the medal stand. They easily covered the spread, scoring 75.60 points to win bronze.
The Mexican team of Paola Milagros Espinosa and Tatiana Ortiz won the gold medal with 324.30 points while silver went to China's Yuanyuan Hou and Ting Li with 322.80 points.
In other finals action, University of Miami recruit JJ Kinzbach (Montgomery, Tx.) finished eighth in the men's 10m platform. China won gold and silver with Jia Hu finishing atop the field with 512.20 points, followed by and Liang Wang with 477.35. Bronze went to Russia's Oleg Vikulov with 463.20 points.
Kinzbach began the session with a 60-point execution of a forward 3 ½ somersault pike, placing him 12th. The four-time Texas state champion climbed to ninth in the second round, after scoring 76.80 pointsbut fell back to 12th in the third round, Kinzbach nailed his fourth dive, a reverse 3 ½ somersault tuck, good for 88.40 points and seventh place. He finished with scores of 72.00 and 76.50 on his final two dives, to finish eighth.
Kinzbach returned to the platform to finish fifth in the Men's 10m synchro with partner Dan Mazzaferro (Cheshire, Conn. / Auburn). The new synchro team started in third place after round one, but fell to fifth place after its second dive, and held steady in that position, finishing with 372.42 points.
The Russian team of Konstantin Khanbekov and Oleg Vikulov won the gold medal with 432.06 points while silver went to China's Xin Zhou and Liang Wang with 431.13. The Korean squad of Yong Ryong Pak and Chol Jin Kim won the bronze with 408.30 points.
Team USA - Diving Final Results
Women's 1m Springboard: Mary Yarrison, Bronze Medal
Women's 3m Springboard: Christina Loukas, Silver Medal
Women's 10m Platform: Cassandra Cardinell, 9th, Jessica Livingston, 10th
Women's 3m Synchro: Amanda Miller & Christina Loukas, Bronze
Women's 10m Synchro: Cassandra Cardinell & Heather Bounds, 4th
Men's 1m Springboard: Terry Horner, 7th
Men's 3m Springboard: Zach Schultz, 12th
Men's 10m Platform: JJ Kinzbach, 8th
Men's 3m Synchro: Sean Moore & Drew Brown, 6th
Men's 10m Synchro: JJ Kinzbach and Dan Mazzaferro, 5th