2 minute read

Patricia McCormick - Sharing The Olympic Spirit

Famous Sports StarsDivingPatricia McCormick Biography - Raised Around Water, Determined To Succeed, The Double-double, Sharing The Olympic Spirit

Sharing the Olympic Spirit

McCormick's persistence paid off while combating another opponent: life after the Olympics. In a profile issued by the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in 1996, McCormick recalled the empty feeling that can hit athletes once Olympic glory fades: "You see, all our lives we have had someone to tell us what to do, how to do it. Then, your whole life dissolves into that one moment. When you step up on that victory stand, you're going to be deserted. All the support systems you had are going after their next project. They can't tell you how to handle success, they can only tell you how to achieve it. The trick is to stay on that victory stand."

Realizing the need for an education, McCormick enrolled at Long Beach City College in the 1960s, graduating thirteen years later. During an interview with Dr. Margaret Costa for the Amateur Athletic Association of Los Angeles, she explained the reason for her life-long motivation and self-discipline: "Not having the skills to do something I want to do has been the story of my life. Whether it was college or diving or being a parent, I have had to develop my own skills and knowledge on my own in order to be successful."


1930 Born May 12 in Seal Beach, California
1948 Misses qualifying for the Olympics by less than a point
1949 Marries Glenn McCormick
1950 Wins the first of 27 national diving titles
1956 Gives birth to son Timmy
1956 Becomes the first and only woman diver to win four gold medals in two consecutive Olympic Games
1960 Gives birth to daughter Kelly
1974 Ends marriage to Glenn McCormick
1984 One of nine athletes selected to carry the Olympic flag in the Opening Ceremonies of the 1984 Games
1984 Begins motivational speaking

Awards and Accomplishments

1950 Won the first of 27 national diving titles
1951 Gold medal at the Pan Am Games
1952 Two gold medals at the Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland
1955 Two gold medals at the Pan Am Games
1956 Two gold medals at the Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia
1956 Amateur Athletic Union's James E. Sullivan Memorial Trophy as amateur athlete of the year
1956 Babe Zaharias Trophy
1956 Helms Hall of Fame North American Athlete of the Year
1956 Sports Illustrated Athlete of the Year
1956 Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year
1956 United Press International's Woman Athlete of the Year
1984 Inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame
1985 Inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame
1987 Inducted into the Orange County (California) Sports Hall of Fame
1996 Inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame

McCormick still enjoys an active sports life, especially horse riding, scuba diving, golfing, body surfing, and skiing. She has since focused her optimism and resolve on another arena—helping others realize their dream. This generosity of spirit, flowing from her extensive charity work and motivational speaking, is her way of remaining on the victory stand.

Additional topics