Pat McCormick, the first diver to win gold medals in the 3-meter and 10-meter events at back-to-back Olympics, died Tuesday. She was 92.
McCormick, who also served on the organizing committee for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, died of natural causes at an assisted living home in Santa Ana, California, of natural causes, The Orange County Register reported.
Competing in the Summer Games in Helsinki in 1952 and in Melbourne in 1956, McCormick became the first diver -- and still the only woman -- to sweep the gold medals in consecutive Olympics, according to the Los Angeles Times. She won both the springboard and platform events, according to the newspapers.
Pat McCormick, Olympic diver from Seal Beach, dies at 92 https://t.co/9NGoj2WIka— O.C. Register (@ocregister) March 11, 2023
Her son, Tim McCormick, was born five months before the 1956 Olympics, according to The Associated Press.
Pat McCormick held that Olympic diving distinction until she was tied by Greg Louganis in 1988, the Register reported.
McCormick, a native of Seal Beach, California, won the James E. Sullivan Award for best amateur athlete in the U.S. in 1956, according to the newspaper.
Her daughter, Kelly Robertson, competed on the same Olympic teams as Louganis, according to the AP. She took silver on the springboard during the Los Angeles Games in 1984 and a bronze in the same event four years later in Seoul, South Korea.
McCormick later used her Olympic success as a springboard to become a motivational speaker for young people, according to the Register.
Born Patricia Joan Keller on May 12, 1930, she married Glen McCormick in 1949, according to the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Her husband was also her coach.
McCormick had a sense of humor to match her competitive spirit.
At the Helsinki Games in 1952, she was the ringleader in a practical joke played on Avery Brundage, the stern president of the U.S. Olympic Committee who would later become the head of the International Olympic Committee, the Times reported.
“There were four of us and we decided we were going to put his underwear up a flagpole (in the Olympic village),” McCormick told TeamUSA.org in 2012.
McCormick, aided by a USOC official, stole the underwear and hoisted the undergarment up the flagpole, the Times reported.
“I ran out and we got in line,” McCormick said. “We had gotten all dressed up and we marched out and took our hats off. I raised the ‘flag.’ Everybody stopped and thought, ‘Isn’t that sweet!’ -- until they looked up. And we got the heck out of there.”
McCormick was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1965. Her husband was enshrined 30 years later and Kelly McCormick Robertson was inducted in 1999, according to the ISHOF.