Troy Dumais says he's just living in the moment. He won't commit to sticking around for the 2012 London Games.
It's hard to see him stopping now, though.
Not after he's won two more silver medals at the world championships.
At an age when most of his contemporaries have called it a career, the 29-year-old Dumais keeps pressing on, hurling his body off a diving board in hopes of finally fulfilling that ultimate goal _ an Olympic gold.
He's now got four silvers in the world championships, the latest coming Thursday when he was runner-up to Olympic champion He Chong of China in the 3-meter springboard.
That doesn't erase the disappointment of failing to win a medal of any color at the Olympics, where he's 0-for-3. He missed out in Sydney, then Athens, then Beijing. Now, he'll have to hang around until he's 32 if he wants to make another run at gold.
"It doesn't make up for it, but it sets the tone," Dumais said of his performance in Rome, which also included a silver in 3-meter synchro. "You can't make up for something you lost. The only thing you can do is build on it. This is a building process. It's four years if I choose to go four years."
With that, he stops short of making any sort of definitive statement. He believes that's what caused his letdown in Beijing, putting too much pressure on himself to win gold.
"Today is today, and tomorrow is tomorrow," Dumais said. "I'm just going to enjoy it."
He always wanted to be the next Greg Louganis, which isn't going to happen. But he's certainly had a career worthy of praise.
Dumais nearly made the 1996 Olympic team as a 16-year-old. Two years later, he won his first world championship medal, a silver on the 1-meter board. He claimed another silver in 3-meter at Montreal in 2005. Now, after taking all of two weeks off after Beijing, he had his best world championships yet with two more silvers.
Still, there's the Olympics, where Dumais has always come up short. Six has been his unlucky number _ he was sixth on springboard at the last three Olympics, as well as on 3-meter synchro in 2004. His best shot for a medal was in 2000, when he took fourth with David Pichler in synchro, one spot off the stand.
Dumais tries to be philosophical about his shortfalls.
"Whatever that day has given, you have to make it the best of the best," he said. "That's one thing I've learned over my years. On days when you can't make everything what you want, do what you do best, make it as positive as possible and go from there. Learn from your mistakes."
Dumais concedes that he put too much pressure on himself in Beijing. He kept saying it was gold medal or bust, when a silver or bronze might have satisfied his ambitions.
"I put way too much pressure on myself," he said. "I was mentally fried."
His coach, Matt Scoggin, noticed something else.
"He sat down with me after Beijing and said, 'What do I need to do to get to the next level?'" Scoggin said. "I told him he needed to get a lot stronger. He looks as good or better as any diver in the world on the board and in the air. He's very smooth. He's a beautiful diver. What people were doing in Beijing to defeat him was jumping higher and finishing their dives higher."
So Dumais began to pump up, hitting the weight room three or four times a week, sometimes putting in as much as 2 1/2 hours just trying to get stronger. He's bulked up noticeably, an estimated 15 pounds in his legs and core, according to Scoggin.
"How do I make myself jump as high as these being older than most of them?" Dumais said. "I'm eight or nine years older than these guys, and I'm supposed to do the most difficult dives. The only way to do that was to get in the weight room."
On Thursday, Dumais was fourth going to the final round. But he received a string of 8s and 8.5s for his last dive _ a reverse 2 1/2 somersault with 1 1/2 twists. That was enough to surge past Alexandre Despatie, a three-time world champion, and China's other diver, Zhang Xinhua, who settled for fourth.
"I was not mentally fit enough to really, really trust myself when I was at the Olympics, even though I knew how to do my dives," Dumais said. At the worlds, "I trusted myself and went with them. Look what happened."
Even though he hardly took any time off after the Olympics, Dumais said there were days when he considered quitting. But Scoggin, would just tell him to take an extra day or two off and see how he felt.
Dumais always came back.
"I still enjoyed it and liked it," he said. "I knew I wasn't done."
Dumais is by far the senior member of the U.S. team, five years older than the next one on the list. Heck, nearly half the squad _ six of 13 _ are still teenagers.
But no one is more passionate about diving.
"You have to enjoy the sport, and I think he does more than most divers I've ever met," Scoggin said. "Now, with his newfound strength, the fact that he loves the sport, the fact that he's always gotten better and now he's stronger than ever, that combination makes him want to keep going."
Somehow, you just know he'll still be around for London.