I want to shed a little light on USA’s 1984 Olympic Men’s Platform Diver Bruce D. Kimball….who won a silver medal for the 10 meter platform at the 1984 Summer Olympics….placing behind fellow teammate Greg Louganis. The truth be known….had Kimball been in many other Olympic platform diving events other than one where a Louganis wasn’t in the competition….Kimball might very well have won the gold instead of the silver….cuz three years before the Olympics (1981)….Kimball was struck head-on by a drunken driver….sustaining the following injuries…every bone in his face was fractured….his left leg broken in multiple locations….the ligaments in his knee were torn….his liver was lacerated….he had a depressed skull fracture….and his spleen had to be removed.
To say that Bruce Kimball is an incredible comeback story would be an unfair understatement…..for outside of golfer Ben Hogan, there may not be a greater comeback story that Kimball’s….as all those parts of his body were needed elements of his athleticism necessary to be a world class platform diver. I mean, can you imagine the thoughts that went through his mind as he grazed the diving platform. When Kimball returned to diving nine months later….he naturally earned the nickname “The Comeback Kid” by his piers and the media….which translated to the public. The accident occurred in October 1981….when he returned to diving in the summer of 1982….making the World Championships on platform and earning the bronze medal.
At the 1984 Summer Olympics, he overtook Li Kongzheng with his final dive to win the silver medal.
On August 1, 1988, two weeks before the U.S. Olympic diving trials, Kimball, drunk, plowed into a crowd of teenagers while driving an estimated 70 to 90 miles per hour (110 to 140 km/h) killing two boys and injuring four others. Despite the tragedy, Kimball took part in the trials, but failed to make the team. He subsequently pleaded guilty to two counts vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to seventeen years in prison. He was released on November 24, 1993, after serving less than five years. As a part of his sentence, his driving privileges were permanently revoked by Judge Harry Lee Coe.
He is currently a Kinetic Wellness teacher and diving coach for the swimming and diving teams at New Trier High School, Winnetka, Illinois. As of 2008, he is married and has three children.