After years of quietly building and improving, the London Olympics saw a huge resurgence of the American Olympic diving program. Our astounding success can be attributed in part to three-meter springboard diver Abby Johnston, an Ohio native currently studying Pre-Med at Duke University. We caught up with the silver medalist at our Annual Salute in October to learn more about her life off the boards:
1. If you could be an Olympian/World Champion/Professional athlete in any other sport than your own, what sport would that be?
Soccer or Tennis.
2. Who is your hero? In ten words or less, tell us why.
My parents — they are incredibly kind and supportive of me and my sisters.
3. You’ve just finished your biggest competition of the year. With what food or dessert do you reward yourself for all your hard work and training?
Cookies with ice cream in between.
4. Everyone has that one song on their iPod that they would be embarrassed to share. What is yours?
Lots of Disney songs — I am not embarrassed but maybe I should be!
5. What advice would you give to your 14-year-old self?
Don't follow the crowd and be confident in being unique.
6. There is a fire blazing inside your house. What one item do you grab to take with you?
My cat — Miss Lilly.
7. What quote do you live by?
"Don't worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright." — Bob Marley
8. Scariest moment in your career? Most thrilling/rewarding/proudest moment in your career?
Scariest: Hitting the board in a World Championship.
Proudest: Standing on the medal podium in London with silver, watching the flag raise up.
9. You’re allowed to spend one day as your favorite television character of all-time. Who are you?
Leslie Knope — Parks & Rec.
10. When did you realize you had extra-special athletic abilities?
11. Were you ever the victim of bullying or peer pressure? How did you handle the difficult situation?
Peer pressure, yes. It took me a long time to realize what's right for me isn't right for everyone and to not give into other people who do not have my best interests at heart.
12.What is the best thing about being an accomplished, elite athlete? The worst?
Best: Getting to travel and meet people all over the world.
13. Top three things on your bucket list?
1. Go to Italy
2. Run a marathon
3. Take a cooking class in Italy
14. Favorite thing about your sport. Favorite thing about being a female athlete?
About diving: Flying through the air, knowing you did a good dive when you hit the water.
15. If you could solve a social issue, what issue/need/concern would it be?
Health care and universal health insurance.
16. In 10 words or less, why are sports (physical activity) so important for girls to participate in?
It teaches discipline, teamwork and many other valuable life lessons.
17. Complete this sentence: “The Women’s Sports Foundation is important because:”
It gives women the opportunity to excel athletically.
18. What’s your next goal in sports, in life?
Run a marathon and attend medical school.