By Marice Richter
DALLAS (Reuters) - Faced with the disappointments and setbacks that have plagued Unites States platform diver Brittany Viola many athletes would have given up hope of becoming Olympians.
But not Viola who has overcome injuries and an eating disorder to earn the chance to compete at the London Games.
The obstacles in Viola's path only strengthened her resolve to earn a spot on the team. With that accomplished, she is banking on her tenacity to power through to the medal platform.
"This is my year, I know it," the 25-year-old said in an interview during a recent Olympic Media Summit in Dallas. "I'm going to continue to push my performance and reach the goals I've set for myself."
At last month's U.S. Olympics diving trials, Viola delivered the type of performance she expected of herself, clinching the championship and finishing 57 points ahead of nearest rival Katherine Bell, who will also compete at the London Games.
The victory was especially sweet after the disappointment of narrowly missing out on the Olympic team at the 2004 and 2008 trials. She might have made the team in 2004 but there was only one spot for a platform diver and that went to the top finisher, Laura Wilkinson, a gold medalist at the 2000 Sydney Games.
"Laura took women's diving to the whole next level," Viola said. "No one else had ever trained like that."
Viola raised her game but came fourth at the 2008 trials.
Looking back, Viola now realizes she was not ready in 2004 or 2008 but, along with her coach Randy Ableman, she believes this could be her year to shine.
"Her performance at the trials was outstanding," said Ableman, diving coach at the University of Miami, where she attended college.
"The Chinese continue to dominate in diving but if she does what she did at the trials and improves by about two percent, she could medal."
Viola has the drive as well as the genetic predisposition to be a standout athlete. Her father, Frank, was the Most Valuable Player in the 1987 World Series playing for the Minnesota Twins.
He was also the 1988 American League Cy Young Award winner and a three-time All-Star.
BULIMIA BATTLE Continued...