TEMPE, Ariz.— Lessons learned by a former Olympian passed on to the next generation of athletes: That is Mark Bradshaw’s mission.
Now the Arizona State diving coach, Bradshaw knows firsthand what it’s like to be in the Olympics. He was on the 1988 USA Olympic diving team and finished fifth in the 3-meter competition. He also coached Finland’s national team in 2004 and 2008.
Bradshaw has a message for today’s athletes: “Enjoy the experience. If you allow yourself to get caught up in the Olympics by name, it can make you nervous.”
Bradshaw has received many honors as a successful NCAA diving coach, but watching his pupils aim for gold makes him most proud. In these 2016 Olympic games, he will see ASU alum and Scottsdale native Mickey Benedetti (Italy) and ASU alum Constantin Blaha (Austria) compete. This will be their second Olympic games.
“They have been down that road, they’ve done it … none of the little things are going to bother them, they’re going to go in there and give it their best shot,” he said.
Bradshaw is also proud to have been a childhood coach of a Tempe native Sam Dorman, who is competing in the Olympics for the first time. The University of Miami alum graduated in 2015 with a degree in mechanical engineering.
“Started him out in lessons, and it was very apparent he was very athletic. He just worked very hard,” Bradshaw said as he remembered Dorman’s early years.
Competing in the 3-meter springboard event, Dorman says it’s been hard work and dedication that’s landed him on the team.
“I have a synchronized partner, Michael Hixon and we’ll be on the bouncy boards. It’s only eight teams and we’re automatically on finals, so it’s very hard to earn your country’s spot for that event.”
Dorman admits he’s nervous, but with 17 years of experience under his belt, he says he’ll focus on what’s in front of him.
“I try and focus on the present and not think the outcome and what we could do. I think we focus on what we can do each day.”
Last month, the city of Tempe honored Dorman for his qualification to Rio with his very own ‘Sam Dorman Day,’ giving him his own date on the calendar.
Dorman competes in Rio on Wednesday, August 10.
This is Part three of a five-part KTAR series highlighting how Phoenix-area athletes, coaches and residents are representing in Rio de Janeiro. Stay tuned for the fourth story on Thursday, August 4th, 2016 as Martha Maurer introduces you to a group of student journalists perfecting their craft on a global stage.
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