1965 Honor Diver
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1952 gold (springboard, platform); 1956 gold (springboard, platform); PAN AMERICAN GAMES: 1955 gold (springboard, platform); U.S. NATIONALS: 77 (springboard, platform); Babe Zaharia's Woman Athlete of the Year; Helm's Hall North American Athlete of the Year; Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year; AAU's Sullivan Award.
Pat was born as Pat Keller in the small town of Seal Bach, California. Throughout her younger years, she was kept very active in trying to keep up with her older brother Bob. In 1947 while diving in Long Beach, Pat was seen by Mrs. Aileen Allen, then the diving coach at the Los Angeles Athletic Club, and was invited to try out for the team. At the club, she not only enjoyed the advantages of formal coaching and excellent facilities, but also received help and inspiration from such diving stars as Vicki Draves and Sammy Lee.
After taking a surprising second in the 1947 National Platform event, Pat went back to Detroit for the 1948 Olympic tryouts. Although still a rookie in diving circles, she missed the team by less than 1 point.
In 1949, Pat formally changed her status from Miss to Mrs. and continued her diving career as Pat McCormick. In 1949, Pat won her first big meet, taking the National Platform event in San Antonio, Texas. Then in 1950 she startled the diving world by not only successfully defending her national platform crown, but also by winning the one meter and 3 meter national championships on springboard. The following year, she scored an all time first in competitive diving as she won all five national titles (2 indoor and 3 outdoor) in one year.
In 1951, Pat competed in her first international meet at Buenos Aires, taking the gold medal in the Pan American Games platform event, 2nd in the springboard. In 1952 Pat McCormick gained world-wide recognition by winning both the Olympic platform and springboard gold medals in Helsinki, Finland.
Throughout the next four years, Pat continued to dominate the diving scene, winning a total of 77 national championships as well as the platform and springboard gold medals in the 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico City.
In 1956 at Melbourne, Australia, Pat successfully defended both her Olympic platform and springboard championships, becoming the only person, man or woman, in diving history ever to score a "double-double" in Olympic competition. It was Pat McCormick's Olympic double-double that led the Swimming Hall of Fame's 52 coach nominating committee to pick her as the world's premier woman diver, the first selected in the Swimming Hall of Fame.
© 1965 ISHOF, Inc.