INDIANAPOLIS – Laura Wilkinson may not have made the Olympic team headed to Tokyo, but it was evident she won over the hearts of everyone following her journey.
The 43-year-old diver from The Woodlands, a 19-time USA Diving national champion and 2000 Olympic gold medalist, finished 10th on Sunday night during the finals of Olympic qualifying in the women’s 10-meter platform.
KPRC 2′s Christine Noel was there to catch up one-on-one with Wilkinson immediately afterward.
“I mean, you always want to do better, but it was a little better than the other day, so I’m proud we stepped it up,” Wilkinson told Noel. “It was a ton of fun.”
Wilkinson’s first dive wound up being her highest scored.
“I started off strong and then my fourth one was pretty good, so there was some good stuff in there,” Wilkinson said.
Then, with a laugh, she said, “It’s just never as good as you want it to be.”
After her final dive, the American diving legend received a standing ovation from all those in the building.
Respect 🤝 Laura Wilkinson— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) June 14, 2021
The crowd gave a standing ovation after the final dive for the 2000 Olympic champion and 43-year-old mom of four who competed at #DivingTrials21 this week.@Lala_the_diver @USADiving | @OnHerTurf pic.twitter.com/FoFISbvoCU
“I didn’t even realize it was going on in the whole pool,” Wilkinson said. “I wish I could have taken a minute to see that, but that was very special. Everybody has been so amazing this week. It’s been really cool - people have just been coming up to me on the pool deck telling me stories about how they got started because they saw me or how I inspired them or how I met them one time when they were little. And that meant a lot to me.”
Wilkinson told Noel she doesn’t yet know what’s in store for her future, but that she will treasure this experience.
“It was a blast. I made up my mind that this was (going to be) fun, this was kind of an encore,” she said. “It was fun. It went by really fast, but it was a good time.”