ISHOF Honoree, supporter and longtime friend, Tom Gompf, releases his memoir, “A Life Aloft!”
Olympian’s memoir looks back at A Life Aloft
CG Sports Publishing releases diving champion Thomas Gompf’s story
(Nov. 19, 2021) A Life Aloft, a memoir from 1964 Olympic bronze medalist Thomas Gompf, will be published by CG Sports Publishing on Friday, Nov. 19. The book tells of Gompf’s life as a world-class diver and lifelong champion of the sport while also reflecting on his experiences as a wartime and commercial pilot.
Gompf, who lives in Lakeland, Florida, won the bronze medal in the 10-meter platform diving event in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He enjoyed years as a professional diver, soaring from great heights over everything from small hotel pools to the cliffs of Acapulco and earned three world high-diving championship titles. He
was instrumental in bringing entertaining high-diving specials to the TV screens of the 1970s and the fan favorite synchronized diving event to the Olympic program. He was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2002 as an honor contributor.
Gompf later was head diving coach at the University of Miami, where he built the program from the ground up by recruiting talented future Olympians, including Melissa Briley and Greg Louganis. Simultaneously, he enjoyed a 30-year career as a commercial pilot, a job which came in handy as he traveled the world as a member of FINA, the international organization that governs aquatic sports. As part of FINA, he had a vote in the 1980 Olympic boycott, a story that is relayed in the book.
Gompf juggled much of his competitive diving career with his service in the U.S. Air Force, stationed, at times, in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. A Life Aloft contains stories and scenes from his wartime years and illustrates the attributes and balance needed to be both an elite athlete and military officer.
Gompf grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and he credits his time as a lonely child at the Dayton YMCA with giving him his start in diving. The YMCA, he says, “was his real home.”
“I had a humble beginning,” Gompf said, “but through great early mentors and lucky opportunities in sport, I have accomplished much I am proud of. It’s always my hope and motivation to be paving the way for the next generation of divers, so I can give back to the sport that has done so much for me.”
A Life Aloft was co-written with Elaine K. Howley of Boston, and contains a foreword written by Steve McFarland, the chairman and CEO of Duraflex International, a company that makes diving boards. The work was commissioned by the Raymond C. Rude Supporting Foundation, which has provided millions of dollars in support of diving and divers worldwide. Ray Rude designed and developed the first Duraflex diving board with Gompf’s input, and it is the only diving board authorized for use in Olympic competition.
A Life Aloft is available from Ingram and wherever books are sold.
Media assets including A Life Aloft book info sheet, cover images, and photos of the authors
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