Nick McCrory has already had his hands on an Olympic medal. He held it aloft, took a photo to keep on his cell phone, then dutifully handed it back to his uncle.
The bronze medal he so coveted was earned by Gordon Downie at the 1976 games in Montreal. Swimming for Great Britain, Downie took third place in the 4x200m relay, an achievement that has made his family proud ever since.
- Name: Nick McCrory
- Sport: Diving
- Event: 10m individual, 10m synchro
- Age: 20
- Hometown: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
- College: Duke University
- 2008 Kaiser Permanente National Diving Championships, first place
- 2010 USA Diving Winter National Championships, second place
- 2011 AT&T National Diving Championships, first place
But 36 years later, it's time for McCrory to have a medal of his own. And his uncle is the perfect inspiration. "It's just really cool having an Olympian in the family and an Olympic medalist in the family," McCrory told NBC. "He's always been a person that I look up to and have that respect for. It's something that's kept me going."
McCrory took up diving at age eight and would go on to win his first international medal at the World Junior Championship in 2006, before excelling on the aquatics team at Duke University. Incidentally, his dad Doug went to Duke but his mom Ana went to the University of North Carolina, so the burgeoning athlete knew a fair bit about sporting rivalry before he even began competing.
McCrory and partner David Boudia placed fifth at the 2011 World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai and achieved Olympic qualification individually and as a tandem at last month's US trials. It was a triumphant moment for McCrory, who narrowly missed out on an Olympics berth in 2008, in part due to having hurt his foot playing basketball several weeks before the trials.
"He's always been a person that I look up to and have that respect for. It's something that's kept me going."
- Nick McCrory
And guess who'll be cheering him on in London when he bids for the first US diving medal in 12 years: none other than his uncle, who will put aside his British heritage for the time being.
"My red-white-and-blueness will definitely come out when I'm over there," Downie told Duke newspaper The Chronicle. "I won't have any qualms at all about cheering for Nick when I'm around them."
Away from the pool, McCrory describes himself as arachnophobic (fearful of spiders), ambitious and level-headed. In case you're thinking divers have to stick religiously to healthy super foods, think again: Nick admits on his Team USA profile page that his favorite snacks include Chinese food and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.