June 25, 2012

Former UM star Viola earns spot in Olympics

Brittany Viola, the former University of Miami star and daughter of 1988 Cy Young Award winning pitcher Frank Viola, won the women’s 10-meter platform Sunday at the U.S. Olympic trials and qualified for the London Games in her third attempt to make the Olympics.

Viola dominated the competition in Federal Way, Wash., winning by nearly 60 points ahead of second-place Katie Bell, who claimed the other qualifying spot for London. Viola scored 86.40 on her second-round dive, an armstand back dive from the platform with two somersaults and 1 1/2 twists, getting all 9s from the judges.

“A greater perspective that this is just another meet,” Viola said of her previous trials experiences. “Although there are a lot of lights and colors and Olympic rings everywhere, it comes down to the diver and the platform, and that’s something Katie and I can take into the Olympics.”

In the men’s competition, no matter what happened on the final dive Kristian Ipsen and Troy Dumais were already bound for London. Chris Colwill didn’t have that security.

With his Olympic hopes on the line and a sliver of a lead, Colwill’s final dive of the 3-meter springboard final was the highest-scoring dive of the entire competition.

Colwill rallied from third place to win the men’s 3-meter springboard, and Dumais held off Ipsen in the final round to finish second and reach his fourth Olympics in the event.

“Competing in the Olympics, that definitely was the biggest pressure, but I felt like I did a good job and enjoy myself and have fun and not worry so much about how the event was going to go and embrace the environment,” Colwill said.

•  Track trials: Former Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas star Sanya Richards-Ross set a meet record in the 400 meters at the U.S. track trials in Eugene, Ore., finishing in 49.28 seconds for a spot on the Olympic team. Richards-Ross also plans to run in the 200 in the trials at Hayward for a shot at a double in the London Games. Dee Dee Trotter finished in 50.02, and Francena McCorory was third in 50.43 for the other two spots on the Olympic team. Elsewhere, Marquise Goodwin won the long jump with a personal-best of 27 feet 4 inches on his final attempt, putting him on the Olympic team. Also, Tyson Gay finished second in the 100-meter final to 2004 Olympic gold medalist Justin Gatlin, who crossed the line in 9.80 seconds. Gay was only 0.06 seconds behind.


•  Auto racing: Fernando Alonso of Ferrari won an incident-filled Formula One European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain, to become the first driver to win two races this season, and Michael Schumacher earned his first podium finish since his comeback by coming in third. Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus finished second. … Ryan Hunter-Reay passed Scott Dixon with 12 laps to go and held on to win for the second week in a row in a wild IndyCar Series race that ended under caution late Saturday in Newton, Iowa.
•  NBA: General manager Sam Presti dismissed reports that 11-time NBA champion Phil Jackson or former New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy could be the next coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder, saying that an extension with coach Scott Brooks is a top priority. … The Atlanta Hawks are in talks with Danny Ferry and could be close to reaching an agreement to hire the San Antonio executive as their general manager.
•  NFL: A California county surprised the San Francisco 49ers and city of Santa Clara leaders by pulling $30 million in tax funds from the new 49ers stadium. Santa Clara County officials told the San Jose Mercury News they would rather spend the money on teachers.
•  Tennis: The ATP Tour will take no further action against David Nalbandian, who was defaulted from the Aegon Championships in London a week ago after he injured a linesman when kicking an advertising board.

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