On the 10th of each month, “A Perfect 10″ will feature 10 questions with a selected diver. Since it’s Hispanic Heritage Month, this month’s Perfect 10 features 16-year-old Christo Law, who last month won a bronze medal in synchronized 3-meter at the UANA Junior Pan American Diving Championships.
1) Your grandmother and mom came to the United States from Bolivia in 1981 to pursue the American dream. What does being able to compete for Team USA mean to you?
“It means a lot. A lot of people when they find out my background ask me if I’d consider going to the Olympics with Bolivia. I want to be there with Team USA. I want to go to the Olympics in the red, white and blue. I’m much more an American than I am Bolivian.”
2) It’s Hispanic Heritage Month now. Are there certain things your family does to maintain and celebrate your Bolivian heritage and culture?
“You really notice it at my grandma’s house. You walk in and just see all the colors and the antiques. You really feel the culture there.
“Also, my grandma taught me how to speak Spanish when I was young. When I talk to her, I don’t speak English. I try to keep up with my Spanish as much as possible. It comes in handy when I’m at international meets and I can communicate with the Mexican team and divers from other Spanish-speaking countries. I’ve gained a lot of insight about them and gotten to know them better because I can interact with them in a way not everyone can.”
3) Diving runs in your family. You’re coached by your uncle, Tommy Law. What’s it like being coached by a family member?
“Tommy got me started in diving. Originally I wanted to be a football player, but Tommy suggested I at least try diving. I ended up loving the sport. Having my uncle as my coach is different. He doesn’t treat me any differently than anyone else, but I feel like I listen to him more because he’s my uncle. I trust him more. We’re family, so there’s a special connection and trust level between us.”
4) You made finals on platform at the 2012 Olympic Trials, but you qualified for Junior Pan Ams and Junior Worlds on springboard. Which event is your favorite?
“I prefer platform over springboard, but I tend to do better on springboard. At my age, my height and weight give me the advantage on springboard. I like platform because of the height – you can spin more and twist more – but the competition is harder. There are lot of great platform divers in juniors, like Steele Johnson, David Dinsmore, Jordan Windle and Zach Cooper. We’re all around the same age, and they’re all very good.”
5) Speaking of spinning and twisting more, you compete a back 1 ½ somersault with 4 ½ twists on 10-meter. That’s a pretty difficult dive. Should we look for 5 ½ twists from you someday?
“I’m actually working on a reverse with 5 ½ twists on 3-meter! I did the 4 ½ on platform by accident. It was meant to be 3 ½ twists. I did 4 ½ and didn’t even realize it. It wasn’t until we watched the video back that I noticed I did 4 ½ twists. Tommy had me go back up and do it again.”
6) National team diver Aaron Fleshner has been a big influence on you. How has he helped you?
“He trained in San Antonio for about a month or so when I was 12. He gave me a lot of advice, and a lot of things he told me back then still hold true and motivate me today. I think he’s also a big reason I like to try the really hard dives. Aaron does a lot of hard dives himself, and me being a show-off, I just had to try to beat him and outdo him when we trained together. We’d make games out of it sometimes.”
7) What accomplishment are you most proud of so far in your diving career?
“I’m most proud of how I did at Olympic Trials. I went in there without the mentality of winning. I knew there was no way I was going to beat David Boudia and Nick McCrory on 10-meter. I just went in there wanting to be the 15-year-old kid who came out of nowhere. After getting fourth in prelims, now my name’s out there. I had the performance of a lifetime. Random people started coming up to me and said they saw me on TV. It was amazing.”
8) What’s the hardest part about your training?
“Staying focused. I don’t always want to do all the hard work. I know if I can learn to take my workouts more seriously, I’ll improve a lot.”
9) What goals do you have heading into the 2014 season?
“I really want to work on the fundamentals. My dives are there. I just want to polish them. I want to focus on the jumps, the toe point … basically all the really boring stuff that I know is crucial to being successful.”
10) When you aren’t diving, what do you like to do?
“I don’t really have much time to do anything else. I go to school until 3, and then I start training at 3:30. From 8-10, it’s pretty much homework.”