|Troy Dumais, left, with synchronized diving partner Kristian Ipsen,
after earning bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games
Troy Dumais has already conquered the competitive diving world, and now he is trying his hand at reality television. The diving veteran plays an important part on Stars in Danger: The High Dive, a two-hour reality diving special that airs tonight at 8 p.m. EST on FOX. The show is based off German television show Total Turmspringen and features a cast of celebrities competing at individual and synchronized Olympic-style dives. The celebrity cast includes Stephen “Twitch” Boss, David Chokachi, Jenni “JWoww” Farley, Bethany Hamilton, Terrell Owens, Alexandra Paul, Kim and Kyle Richards and Antonio Sabato Jr.
Dumais’s long list of athletic accomplishments includes earning five world championship medals, becoming the first U.S. male diver to compete at four Olympic Games and earning bronze in the three-meter springboard synchro competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games. After all that, Dumais is not done yet. As he reveals in this Q&A with TeamUSA.org, he is still training and hopes to compete at the world championships this summer.
What is the premise of Stars in Danger: The High Dive?
There were eight to nine celebrities that were coached in California, and they trained for two weeks to learn dives. They competed in two rounds to try to go into the finals, and they tried diving synchro as well.
What was your role in the show?
Basically what I did was I commentated the dives and gave reaction.
Reality diving shows are new to the U.S. What do you think about the concept?
It’s a way to get diving out there and hopefully (attract) future sponsors because people look up to celebrities and if they see they (the celebrities) can do it, maybe they’ll try it.
What commentating experience have you had prior to this?
Very minor bits and pieces with regards to nationals and stuff like that. This was my first real commentating job.
How was your first real commentating job?
It was fun. You have to be able to take the strengths and the weaknesses from people who are trying to do something they have never done before. You have to take in the information with regards to their fears and their wants and their desires to push through. I know diving so it’s relatively easy, but at the same time with people who have never done it before my want was to bring out the positive side of things and overall they did a phenomenal job.
Who taught the celebrities how to dive?
Respectable coaches. That was done all in California. The only thing I did was commentate. We held it in Greensboro, N.C., where the show was shot. They brought me in for that purpose and that purpose only.
Of course you can’t give too much away before the show airs, but how did the celebrities do as divers?
All of them were phenomenal in the fact that they tried to do something that they never had done. There were some people that were totally, completely scared. There were some people that wanted to overcome a lot of their fears of heights. There were others who wanted to get to know and see how their body reacted in dives. All of them were elite athletes or actors that go for perfection in their careers, and they all commented with regards to how difficult it was and how much fun it was. The other thing they commented on is that they understand that diving is a family and though they might compete for jobs in Hollywood and in work, they came together and did an amazing job, and the camaraderie of it was very well done.
Are you more excited or nervous to watch the final product on Wednesday night?
I’m excited and nervous at the same time because it was the first time I had done it and I wanted to portray myself and everyone else around me in a positive manner. Just like me watching my own dives, I critique my own dives a lot, and when you’re an athlete you critique yourself harder than anyone else, and I have a feeling I’m going to do that with my commentating as well.
It was a phenomenal achievement. Could I have done more? Yes. Could it have been worse? Yes. But between my coach Matt Scoggins, the high performance director Steve Foley and USA Diving, we set it up and we had a plan, and the plan was to get us to perform at our optimum levels when the whistle blew. We set up training camp and we had to take a train to do it and stayed away from the whole village and everything because our goal was to bring medals home. One thing people don’t quite understand about the Olympics is it’s not all fun and games. It’s fun and games for the competition and the enjoyment of showing off what you’re capable of doing, and obviously going for that medal and bringing home a medal, but it’s our job to represent the United States as a whole and give it our all. Our job is not done for every four years until the Olympics is over, and then when the Olympics is over we still continue to push through.
Are you still training?
I am still currently training. I have not set a date on what I’m going to do or how I’m going to go about doing it. I’m training just to keep in shape; I’m going to continue diving for one more year and go from there. I love to dive. These guys are getting stronger and faster and younger, and it’s very tough to maintain that.
In what ways have you noticed the toll age takes on your body?
The recovery rate is slower; to wake up and get moving is slower. That’s all part of the competition and part of getting older and part of athletics.
What goals have you set for the 2013 FINA World Championships?
I’m going to give it my all, and I want to perform two larger dives with regards to that. One is a 109C, which is a front four-and-a-half somersault tuck, and the other is a dive I have done before in competition but decided not to use it (in London) and that’s a 5156B, which is a front two-and-a-half with three twists, and I want to be able to do both dives in competition. I’m going to be traveling (to competitions) and doing those dives to set up for it.
Have you thought about the possibility of competing at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games?
Would I love to go to Rio? Yes. But only time will tell. I’m taking it a day at a time, and that’s it.
This interview has been edited for clarity.