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Brittany Viola is a diver competing at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for the USA.

U.S. diver Brittany Viola has never been an official member of the U.S. Olympic team, but she was an alternate during the 2004 and 2008 Games. The experience of finishing one spot out of qualifying at the Trials was an interesting one, as she was kept in the United States. If someone on the team got injured or could not compete, Viola would've had to fly to the Games at the last minute. "I desired to be on the team, to be at the Olympics," she said. "But it's encouraged me to keep going and make the Olympic team in 2012." Her event is the 10m platform.

After the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Viola injured ligaments in her right ankle and needed surgery … and then a follow-up surgery after that. The injury happened, Viola said, because she spent 10 years of her life doing gymnastics before picking up diving at age 13. She was unable to dive for 18 months, but showed up to the University of Miami's practice every day to support her teammates and to rehab her foot. Viola broadened her horizons during the layoff, joining the Hurricane Club (which sponsors student-athlete scholarships) and becoming president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She returned to the platform in early 2011 and won two national titles that year. Viola also overcame an eating disorder in between high school and college.

Viola's dad is former Major League Baseball pitcher Frank Viola, whose nickname was "Sweet Music." The elder Viola won the Cy Young award in 1988, and a year before that he won Games 1 and 7 of the World Series to carry the Minnesota Twins to a world title over the St. Louis Cardinals. Brittany said her dad's status as a big-time athlete never filtered into their home. "I've enjoyed seeing him as Dad because I think realizing that he was a major league baseball player could have gotten to my head," she said. "Now I get to look back at his career and just appreciate everything that he accomplished." Viola said her dad has given her good advice regarding her diving career, saying, "just have fun. And if I'm not having fun anymore, then I need to stop."

Having recently quit gymnastics at age 13, Viola was playing around the diving boards one day during junior high school gym class. She was incorporating some of her gymnastics moves when the swim team coach saw her and asked if she wanted to join the diving team. "I didn't know it was a sport at the time," Viola said. She began diving with the squad and the rest is history.

Among Viola's favorite things to do is salsa dance. She was exposed to the dance while living in Miami, and decided to join a class taught by two of her friends — one of whom is her boyfriend. The key to mastering the dance? "The first lesson that I learned was that you need to know how to move your hips," Viola said. "You should not move forward unless you know how to move your hips."



BRITTANY VIOLA: FACTS

How tall is Brittany Viola? How old is Brittany Viola? Where does Brittany Viola live? Find out here.

Age: 27 years old
Birthday: April 19, 1987
Height: 5' 5"
Weight: 134 lbs.
Birthplace: St. Paul, MN
Hometown: Orlando, FL
Current Residence: Miami, FL





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