Local Olympic Diver Set for London
Former Deerfield High diver Christina Loukas to compete in London Olympics in early morning hours here.
It will be coffee and bagels with Christina if you want to catch the Riverwoods native and Deerfield High School graduate in this 2012 Olympics this year.
Christina Loukas, who graduated from Deerfield High School in 2004, will be one of the area’s few representatives at the Olympics in London, which open this Friday.
“Londonbound” is what Loukas tweeted last week when she left for the Olympics.
If you want to watch Loukas compete live, you will need to get up early since London is six hours ahead of the time here in Midwest. The diving competition at the Olympics will stretch over three days beginning Friday, Aug. 3.
On that Friday competition begins at 8:30 a.m. Chicago time. All divers will have five dives, with the 18 highest scores advancing to Saturday’s semifinals. On Saturday, again at 8:30 a.m. Chicago time, the 18 divers will again complete their five dives. The 12 highest scores will then advance to Sunday’s finals which will begin at 7 p.m. London time or 1 p.m. here.
London will be a return Olympic engagement for Loukas. In 2008, she redshirted from Indiana University to enter the Olympics. Her success continued there. She was named to the squad to travel to Beijing, China. There, she finished ninth in the world on the three-meter board.
“She has a great time there,” said her mother Patti, who was one of 16 family members to make the trip to China. “When Christina went through the Eagles’ Nest and entered the stadium representing the United States, she said it was one of the greatest thrills of her life.”
Patti Loukas was thrilled as well. “To watch your daughter out there as part of the American team was truly amazing,” Patti Loukas said. “My husband and I could not have been prouder.”
Loukas Decides To Come Back in 2012
Loukas almost gave up the sport after her Olympic experience. But she later became reenergized and pushed even harder to make the 2012 team. She reached that goal, qualifying as the second of two American divers.
“It didn’t matter to her whether she was first or second,” Patti Loukas said. “She just wanted to make the team.”
And since Christina qualified, the Loukas family will be well represented in London. He mom and dad, who have travelled to Dubai, Mexico and Florida to watch Christina compete in Olympic warm-up events, will watch her in London.
The Loukas' will lead a family contingent of 26 which includes Christine's sister, Stacey, brothers Nicolas and Kosta and Christine’s 80-year old grandmother Loretta.
“This is a great family experience,” said Patti, who was still scrambling for some extra tickets last week. “We are very excited to see Christina compete.”
Warrior and Illinois Records Still Stand
Loukas was a three-time state champion at Deerfield high school. She just missed four in a row when she finished second in the state in 2000 as a freshman.
“She was a dream athlete to coach,” Doug Foerch, who coached Loukas at Deerfield High School and is still the diving coach there today. “She had it all. She was a hard worker, very humble and very coachable,” he said. “I could go on and on.”
In her senior year, Loukas became the first diver in Illinois High School Association history to crack the 500 point mark. Her record score of 507.55 still stands today.
“She had an incredible meet,” Foerch said. “Her degree of difficulty was as high as you could go. And then she went 11-for-11 in her dives. You hope to hit 8-out-11, but she just didn’t miss.”
Loukas then went to Indiana University, where she was Big 10 diver of the year for three consecutive years. She was also named an NCAA All-American and a Big 10 academic honoree.
The family, which owns the Cubby Bear North in Lincolnshire, is still hoping to have a viewing party for Christina’s fans here back in the Deerfield area.
Should the party be held, there will be sure to be plenty of cream cheese.