Duke divers Abby Johnston and Nick McCrory arrived at Raleigh/Durham International Airport Monday after becoming the first divers in Duke history to qualify for the Olympic Games. The pair did not come home empty handed, either.
Johnston and her diving partner, Kelci Bryant, earned the first American medal in the history of synchronized diving when they took silver in the women’s synchronized 3-meter springboard event. McCrory and David Boudia earned a medal for the United States the following night when they earned bronze in the men’s synchronized 10-meter platform event. McCrory also competed individually in the men’s 10-meter platform final, where he placed ninth.
Johnston and McCrory were accompanied on their flight home by Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who had just led USA basketball to its second consecutive gold medal at the Olympic Games. The three addressed the media together upon their arrival at RDU, reflecting on their Olympic experiences.
Here are some pieces of both Johnston and McCrory’s press conferences, courtesy of The Chroicle’s sports photography editor, Elysia Su. Her photos from the event can be viewed in our post from Tuesday. Soundbites from Krzyzewski’s press conferences at RDU can be viewed in our post from yesterday as well.
Johnston on whether the 2012 Games surpassed their expectations:
“I think it was even better than I’ve ever imagined. As a little kid you watch the Olympics and say ‘I want to go there one day’ and I actually executed that. It was just unbelievable. There were so many times where I just had chills or tears in my eyes because I was just so happy.”
Johnston on returning to Duke:
“I’m excited to be back at school and be on campus. I missed it a lot. I missed my classes and my friends, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Johnston on the historic nature of their medals, the first by the US in diving since 2000:
“This was the first synchronized medals in history and it was really great to be a part of that. You had that feeling that the teams, the way we worked together, everyone had this sense that good things were going to happen. Kelci and I started it off with the silver medal and got the ball rolling. It was really exciting to watch the rest of my team perform really well and make history.”
Johnston on her other favorite moments from the Olympics:
“When I walked in at opening ceremonies, standing in the tunnel chanting USA with all of the top US athletes. That was a really great moment. As I walked into the stadium I had tears in my eyes. I was so happy, so apart from getting on the podium that was definitely a highlight.”
Johnston on what she will do with her Olympic medal:
“I think I’ll keep it in my room. My mom was like ‘don’t lose it’, but I’ll keep it safe. A lot of people have asked to try it on, at first I was a little protective of it because it’s something I’ve wanted for so long. But I remember being younger and wearing Laura Wilkinson’s gold medal and I was so inspired by it, so I’m glad to get to pass that along.”
Johnston on what was going through her head on the podium:
“I was really shocked when I was standing on the podium and the medal was finally around my neck. Actually on our flight over in the catalogue they had a story about the medals and what the different significance of things are. I’m looking through the magazine and I see that and I close it. I was like ‘I don’t want to jinx myself’ but then I peaked at it and closed it again. I just said ‘I’ll just learn about it after I get one’. I stlll need to read up about what everything means but it was a really incredible experience. Standing on the podium and seeing the US flag being raised was the best moment of my entire life.”
McCrory on how it feels to be back in the United States:
“It feels incredible. I’m so glad to be home. This welcome was incredible, and it’s really hitting me that I just went to the Olympics. It was a long journey, and it feels like forever but at the same time it seems like just yesterday I was just leaving. So it’s been a lot of emotions, it’s just been incredible.”
McCrory on competing in multiple Olympic events, which were separated by nearly two weeks:
“I’m still really both physically and mentally tired. I was so excited to be able to compete in two events, so I was really glad I was able to do that. It was really tough competing at the beginning and then having the downtime and getting refocused to compete again, but it was awesome. It was a fun meet to be a part of.”
McCrory on what they are looking forward to most about being home:
“We’re going to be regular students for a little while. [Abby and I] are excited to go back to Duke and be regular students again.”
Johnston on the prospect of competing at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro:
“I’m not entirely sure yet. I’ve been thinking about it, but we’ll have to see how this year goes first.”
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