Dover, NH’s Jessica Parratto Makes History at Summer Olympics
Dover's Jessica Parratto and diving partner Delaney Schnell made history at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo as they earned the silver medal in the women’s 10-meter platform synchronized diving competition early Tuesday morning.
It was the first time U.S. divers ever won a medal in the event. It was also only the third time Parratto and Schnell competed together.
Winning the gold were teens Chen Yuxi and Zhang Jiaqi from China who led the competition the entire time finishing with 310.80 total points, 52 points ahead of Parratto and Schnell.
It wasn’t going well after their first two dives of the day at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, the easy back dive pike and reverse dive pike. They scored mostly in the 7.0-8.0 range, but most of the other teams were better and they ranked seventh on each.
“That kind of lit my fire under me,” Parratto said.
Parratto and Schnell's fifth and final dive was the clincher drawing high praise from the commentators. Every duo dove a back 2 1/2-somersault pike with 1 1/2 twists.
"Oh my goodness that was the best dive they have done at the right time, at the ideal time," NBC's commentator said of their final dive.
Parratto said she had never woken up for a meet feeling so calm and ready to go.
“That was a good sign to me, just knowing that I felt as confident as I did that we knew we could hit our dives,” she said.
"So proud of these two for making HISTORY as the first-ever medalists in the Women’s 10 Meter Synchro! Congratulations @jessicaparratto and Delaney, we hope you can hear the cheers and congratulations from back in the U.S. all the way across the ocean," USA Diving tweeted.
Parratto and Schnell's teammates made up for the silence from the lack of a crowd because of coronavirus protocols.
"It does make a world of difference and we know that Team USA always cheers super loud and are super obnoxious and we love that, so we couldn’t ask for more," Parratto said.
Parratto's father Michael was proud of his daughter's accomplishment.
"This is something I’ve dreamed on so long," Parratto said, "I can’t believe it’s really happening."
Parratto attended Indiana University. The 27-year-old finished 10th in the individual 10-meter and 7th in synchronized diving with then-partner Amy Magana at the 2016 games in Rio.
Parratto is originally from Dover and moved to Indianapolis in 2009 due to limited training facilities for divers, according to her Team USA bio.
Her father Mike coached Olympic swimmer and Dover resident Jenny Thompson who is close to her, like a sister.
The next Seacoast Olympians scheduled to compete are Michelle Sechser & Molly Reckford in the Lightweight women's double sculls Wednesday, July 28, 2:30 p.m. for Team USA.
Rachel Schneider said on her Instagram account that she took a run around the Olympic Village and was highly impressed.
"Been here for less than a day but am blown away by the layout, the dining hall, the sweet stuff from sponsors, and especially being in the same space as athletes from all sports and all over the world," Schneider wrote.
She was also pleased that Luis Grijalva is representing Guatemala at the Games.
"So proud of the work that he and Mike have done together through the years and can’t wait to all share our first Olympic experience together," she wrote.
Material from Team USA was used in this report.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH