Tom Gompf is “One In A Thousand”!

Tom Gompf,  ISHOF Honoree and 1964 Olympic medalist is special.  He is One in a Thousand!

When asked why he wanted to join the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s One in A Thousand Club, Gompf said, “It’s almost reverent to me to be able to walk through the Hall and to see the history of our sport.  To be able to visit the museum and see all our friends, each time I am there.  Even today when I am at the Hall, it is always thrilling to be able to relive my career, as well as the careers of all the other greats in our sport!  Tom is One in a Thousand! 

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Tom Gompf loves all aspects of diving.  Always has.  Always will.  He started as a young local competitor, advanced to the Olympic Games, performed in professional competition and grew to serve in the international diving community as an administrative leader.  He is a hard worker for the good of the sport and a friend to all.  Gompf has had a profound international influence on the sport of diving.

As a youngster, growing up in Dayton, Ohio, Tom won five National YMCA Diving titles and two National AAU Junior National Championships.  He was coached in the early years by Ray Zahn, George Burger and Lou Cox.

By the time he graduated from Ohio State University in 1961, diving for Hall of Fame Coach Mike Peppe, Tom had won the NCAA National Trampoline Championships and a year later, the U.S. National AAU Diving Championships twice on the 10-meter platform. In 1964 at the Tokyo Olympics, under the eye of Dick Smith, Tom won the bronze medal on the 10-meter platform, only two points behind gold medalist Bob Webster (USA) and one point behind silver medalist, Klaus DiBiasi (Italy), both Hall of Famers.

Tom went on to win National Championships in Spain and Japan and then competed in and won first place in the 1970 and 1971 World Professional High Diving Championships in Montreal.  His next competition was diving off the cliffs of Acapulco.  He survived.  All this while flying several hundred combat missions in Vietnam from 1965 to 1967 earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Air Medal with multiple silver clusters.

From 1971 to 1982, he coached diving at the University of Miami (FL) developing divers, who won six National Championships and competed on World, Pan American and Olympic Teams.  Steve McFarland, Melissa Briley, Julie Capps, Greg Garlich and Greg Louganis were among his team members.

But perhaps Tom’s greatest contribution came from behind the scenes as a leader in the sport.  Universally acknowledged for his low key, amiable manner, and his ability to work effectively and silently to promote the sport.  Since 1977, he has served on the US Olympic Committee Board of Directors (1977-2004) and Executive Board, working to autotomize the four aquatic disciplines under the Amateur Sports Act of 1978.  He helped establish U.S. Diving, Inc. in 1980 and serves as the only continuous board member.  Her served four years as its President (1985-1990) and from 1998 through 2006 was president of United States Aquatic Sports which represents all the disciplines and reports directly to FINA.

Internationally, Tom served on the Executive Board of the Amateur Swimming Union of the Americas (ASUA).  In 1984, he was elected to the FINA Technical Diving Committee, a position he held for 21 years. In 2013, Tom was elected to the first FINA High Diving Committee, which he will serve on until 2021.

He served three, four-year terms as Chairman during which time he proposed and passed legislation to include 1-meter diving in the FINA World Championships (1986) and synchronized diving for world competitions, with its debut at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.  “It lends the element of team, which every other sport has.  It’s a proven crowd favorite,” says Tom.  Gompf is responsible for the renovation of international judging, initiating a judges’ education program involving clinics and manuals.  Tom has served as the Chairman of the FINA Diving Commission for the World Swimming Championships (1990-98) and as Chairman of the FINA Diving Commission for the Olympic Games (1992-2000).

Tom has received the FINA silver and gold pins, served as the U.S. Team Manager for the 1976 and 1984 Olympic Games, was the Chairman for the ISHOF Selection Committee eight years (1991-98) and served four years (1986-90) on the ISHOF Board of Directors.  All the while, Tom was an airline captain for National (1967-80), Pan American (1980-91) and Delta Airlines (1991-2000). He has received the Mike Malone/Glen McCormick Award (1984) for outstanding contribution to U.S. Diving and the Phil Boggs Award (1995), U.S. Diving’s highest award and the 1997 Paragon Award for competitive diving.

The most prestigious award Tom Gompf has received and is most proud of, is the USOC Foundation George Steinbrenner Sports Leadership Award in New York City, 2010.  He says it is the highest award he has ever received.

Tom’s accomplishments were never for personal fame, but always an honest attempt to help the sport he loves.  He has applied the same determination and passion that made him an Olympic medalist to pursuing the goal of advancing and improving all aspects of diving on the international scene for the good of the sport and the athletes.

The International Swimming Hall of Fame wants to know if you are One in a Thousand?  We think you are!  Show how special you are and become a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s “One In A Thousand” Club.  Help keep the International Swimming Hall of Fame moving forward toward a new vision and museum by joining now!

During these unprecedented times, the ISHOF Board is calling on every member in the aquatic community to make a small monthly commitment of support to show how special you are and how special the International Swimming Hall of Fame is to everyone.

Our goal is simple. If we get 1,000 people to simply commit $10, $25 or $50 per month, we will generate enough revenue to go beyond this Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis.” – Bill Kent – Chairman of the ISHOF Board

Those that believe in our vision, mission, and goals can join us in taking ISHOF into the future and be a part of aquatic history.”  – Brent Rutemiller – CEO and President of ISHOF

Since 1965, ISHOF has been the global focal point for recording and sharing the history of aquatics, promoting swimming as an essential life-skill, and developing educational programs and events related to water sports. ISHOF’s vision for the future is to build a new museum and expand its reach by offering its museum artifacts digitally through a redesigned website.

The ISHOF Board of Directors is calling on all members of the aquatics community to make a small monthly commitment to show their dedication to aquatics and how special the International Swimming Hall of Fame is to everyone.

About ISHOF   Take a Virtual Tour

The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) museum opened its doors to the public in December of 1968 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. That same year, the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) – the governing body for Olympic aquatic sports – designated the ISHOF museum as the “Official Repository for Aquatic History”.   In 2018, Sports Publications Inc, publisher of Swimming World Magazine and its multi-media platforms, merged with ISHOF to expand the museum’s reach and impact.  Today, ISHOF’s vision is to be the global focal point for recording and sharing the history of aquatics, promoting swimming as an essential life-skill, and developing educational programs and events related to water sports.  Show your support for the sport of swimming by becoming a member of ISHOF.

ISHOF Vision Statement
To be the global focal point for recording and sharing the history of aquatics, promoting swimming as an essential life-skill, and developing educational programs and events related to water sports.

ISHOF Mission Statement
To collaborate with aquatic organizations worldwide to preserve, educate and celebrate history, showcase events, share cultures, and increase participation in aquatic sports.

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3 years ago

To celebrate all aspects of diving, a big thank you to Tom, one of the most genuine people on earth, polished and personal. Reflecting on this list of achievements echos the gratitude I feel having shared some of his life in diving, lending to what the sport is today!

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