Wendy Wyland (USA)
Honor Diver (2001)
FOR THE RECORD: 1984 OLYMPIC GAMES: bronze (10m platform); 1982 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (10m platform); 1986 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: bronze (10m platform); 1983 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: gold (10m platform), silver (3m springboard); SEVEN U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: platform.
As a youngster, she started as a swimmer and a gymnast in Rochester, N.Y., but when her swimming coach saw her dive off the board, he recommended a career in diving. Local diving coach Betty Perkins saw the raw talent in this young athlete and encouraged her to pursue the sport. At age 14, Wendy Wyland moved to Mission Viejo, to Hall of Fame coach Ron O’Brien and to international greatness.
At her first U.S. Nationals in 1980 she placed 31st on I meter, 24th on 3 meter and 10th on platform. But she was not discouraged. Within a year, she won her first national platform title and repeated it again in 1982. It prepared her for the 1982 Quayaquil World Championships where she won the gold medal in the 10m platform, surprising the world as the young newcomer.
The next year at the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela, Wendy again won the platform gold medal and also took the silver in the 3m springboard behind Hall of Fame diver Kelly McCormick. “Wendy’s strong point is her consistency,” said Coach O’Brien. She continued preparing for the 1984 Olympic Games.
In Los Angeles at the 1984 Games, Wendy won the bronze medal behind Hall of Famers Zhou Jihong of China (gold) and Michele Mitchell of the U.S.A. (silver). It capped a four-year preparation period in which she earned Swimming World’s World Platform Diver of the Year honors (1982, 1983), becoming a photogenic athlete for the media and press.
The year following the Olympics she followed her coach to his new coaching position at Mission Bay in Florida. She sat out most of 1985 with shoulder injuries. When she returned to the pool, it was without much time to prepare for the 1986 Madrid World Championships. She won the bronze medal in the 10m platform at the World Championships behind Chen Lin and Lu Wei, both of China. Again her consistency was her strong point. “I hardly ever get 9-1/2s or 10s, but I rarely miss a dive either,” she has said.
Wendy continued diving through 1990. She was the 1989, 1990 HTH Classic platform champion and 1989 springboard champion. She won the gold medal on platform at the 1982 and 1983 National Sports Festivals and was a seven-time U.S. National Champion in platform. She competed numerous times in the USA International, Alamo International, FINA World Cups, Goodwill Games, World University Games and in dual meets with Australia, China and Russia.