Aug. 24, 2004
Athens, Greece –
USC sophomore Tracey Richardson is getting ready for her competition tomorrow on 3m Springboard at the Athens 2004 Olympics. Sitting in the shade next to NBC’s Today show set in Athens, Tracey, who will compete for Great Britain, and her personal coach, USC Head Coach Todd Sherritt, visited with USCSPORTS.COM.
USC: First Tracey, please explain the difference between Great Britain and England. A lot of people think they are the same place.
TR: Great Britain is England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland – all together. We compete as one nation at all world championships. The only one that is different is the Commonwealth Games when we compete as each individual country. I live in Essex, which is a suburb of London.
USC: Was it your dream to compete here?
TR: Yes, it’s something I have always wanted to do since I was a little girl. I wasn’t sure which Olympics it would be, but the last few years my aim has been for Athens 2004.
USC: How did you start diving as a youngster?
TR: I did gymnastics as a youngster. I was at the local pool one day and started doing some gymnastics off the diving board. I was there with my parents and they said ‘if they are going to do it you are going to do it properly and take some lessons’. So I did and here I am.
USC: Why did you chose USC?
TR: I researched the university itself. I met Todd Sherritt at World Juniors and I also knew a few people who were going to school there. A lot of people are always saying, ‘where are you from? I love your accent’. The funniest thing people in South Carolina ask me ‘Does it really rain in England every day’.
USC: Has it been hard to here for so long before you competed?
TR: Yes, it’s been really hard. We’ve been here for over 3 weeks. But we did a good thing. Went into the Village, got all checked in and then went to our training camp so we were here and then left. Then we came back for a week and then left for a few days to go to Cyprus to just relax and catch our breath. It’s been broken up so it’s been pretty good.
USC: You were on NBC’s telecast during the Opening Ceremonies, walking out with Great Britain. Can you talk about that experience?
TR: Yes, it was just amazing. It was just so electric. I heard I was on television in the States and was so excited to be on the telley so much. They put us in height order and because I am so small I was right in the front. It was long time to stand up – six hours – but it was well worth it.
It was good that it was so much earlier. There were a few people that dove the next few days so they had to watch it on television. It was a wonderful experience and nice my legs could recover.
USC: Have you run into any famous people since you’ve been here?
TR: I met Tim Henman (tennis player). The Prime Minister (Tony Blair) came and had lunch with us one day. Princess Anne came to meet with us as well. It’s been very nice.