While the eyes of many around the world have been focused on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Olympic Games, the eyes of USC Upstate junior women’s soccer player Emily Dingley are gazed on South America with a bit more attention than most.
Dingley’s brother, Oliver, competed in his first Olympic Games for Ireland in the men’s individual 3-meter springboard diving and finished in eighth place in Tuesday’s final round.
“I am so incredibly proud of Oliver for not only qualifying for the Olympics but to also make it through the prelims and semis to reach the final,” Emily Dingley said. “For him to finish eighth in the final is just icing on the cake. He has done so well and exceeded all of our expectations. It is a really exciting time for him, and now has time to soak it up and enjoy his time in Rio.”
Oliver Dingley became the first Irish diver to qualify for an Olympic final after finishing in ninth place during the semifinal round on Tuesday morning with a score of 414.25. He advanced to the final 18 after a 13th place finish in the preliminary round held on Monday afternoon. Oliver was the first diver to qualify for the Olympics for Ireland in 68 years. Like many athletes, his road to the Olympics began at an early age with Emily, her twin sister and brother playing a part in his success.
“We were all very active children when growing up and we were always playing different sports on the street,” Dingley explained. “Oliver had dove since he was seven years old so we have been brought up around the pool and watched him dive. We used to make up our own mini Olympics with the other children on our road and to think he has finally made it to the real thing is just amazing!”
While her parents and other family members have been in Brazil cheering Oliver on, Emily has been on campus training with the women’s soccer team in preparation for the upcoming season. Dingley has been able to follow the action in between practices while her teammates have offered their support in Oliver’s pursuit of an Olympic medal. The women’s soccer team watched part of the semifinal round on Tuesday on the new soccer videoboard before hitting the practice field.
“I am so glad I have been able to share this experience with my team and to watch the Olympics with them,” Dingley said. “All of their support and cheers for my brother really mean a lot. It is hard to not be there in Rio with my family and I can’t celebrate with them until I am back home at Christmas, but being able to celebrate with my team and having their support means a lot. I will cherish these special moments with my Spartan family.”
Dingley and the Upstate women’s soccer team opens the season on Friday, traveling to ETSU for a 7 p.m. match.