MIAMI - She came so close in 2008. Brittany Viola wound up fourth in platform diving at the Olympic Trials, and as a result, didn't get to go to Beijing. Next week, she gets another chance to make an Olympics.
"I'm just excited to have that chance again to do what I love", Viola said.
While she propels herself off a 10 meter platform at the USA Diving Olympic trials in Seattle next week, trying to punch her ticket to London, somewhere in Savannah, Georgia, her Dad will be huddled over his laptop.
"I'm going to get my butt to the ballpark early, put on that computer and just start praying", father Frank Viola lamented over his inability top watch in person.
"Frankie V." can't travel to the Trials because he'll be at the ballpark, where he serves as pitching coach for the Savannah Sand Gnats, a minor league affiliate of the New York Mets.
Hard to believe it's been a quarter of a century since that magical run the Twins went on to win that 1987 World Series. And while the sweet music has died down, the excellence sure hasn't. It's living loud in his daughter who was born during that World Series season.
"It's the coolest thing in the world to see these kids. they realize its not about the money like we play in baseball or professional sports. It's about the honor of your country, and she's had that mindset for a long time", Frank remarked.
Brittany added, "I think knowing his experience, he's able to support me in mine and take me back to what really matters. Am I having fun in what i'm doing? Am I being true to who I am. These are some of the reminders he gives me."
And while there is a lot about their competitive fire that is similar. There is one thing they don't have in common at all. Frank is terrified of heights.
"Now that I'm in diving he says 'I won't even go up those stairs, let alone jump off! Then flip a few times.' He thinks I'm insane," Brittany admitted.
Even though Dad may miss trials, if she qualifies for the Olympics, he has already been granted leave by the Mets to take a trip across the pond.
The USA Diving Trials begin on June 18 in Seattle, Washington. The top two female platform divers will represent the red, white, and blue in England.
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