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|Full name||Laura Ann Wilkinson|
November 17, 1977 |
|Height||5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)|
|Event(s)||3m, 3m synchro, 10m, 10m synchro|
|Club||Woodlands Diving Team|
|Partner||Jessica Livingston (10m synchro)|
|Former partner(s)||Cassandra Cardinell (10m)
Chelsea Davis (3m)
Kimiko Soldati (10m)
Brittany Viola (10m)
Jenny Keim (10m)
Patty Armstrong (10m)
Cristi Christensen (3m)
Kimiko Hirai (3m)
Kathy Pesek (3m), Katie Sustman (3m)
Patty Armstrong (3m & 10m)
Laura Wilkinson was born and raised in Houston, Texas and lived with her parents Ed and Linda Wilkinson. She attended Klein High School in Houston before going to University of Texas. As a child, Wilkinson was a gymnast, but had to give up on the sport after a growth spurt during puberty made her too tall to continue. It was then that she turned to diving. When she first started diving, a teacher told her she was too old to start a new sport and was later kicked off her high school team because they thought she was a "waste of space". Wilkinson is a 2001 graduate of the University of Texas, where she majored in public relations. While attending school on a scholarship, she decided that she would rather put school on hold and go after her dream to become an Olympian. She trained in The Woodlands, Texas and is married to Eriek Hulseman. The couple welcomed their first child, a girl, Arella Joy, on May 11, 2011. In December 2012, Laura and her husband adopted a baby from China named Zoe. She also travels around the country speaking to girls at The Revolve Tour, a Christian girls' conference.
Her interest in the sport began as she was swimming in the gym's pool and watched a young female diver in training execute an impressive dive. Her first jump off the 10 meter platform didn't occur until she was 15 years old. She took up platform diving and joined the U.S. national team in 1995.
2000 Summer Olympics
Six months prior to the 2000 Summer Olympics, Wilkinson suffered a serious foot injury that kept her out of action for a couple of months. She employed a visualization technique to practice her dives during this time, and wasn't fully healed when she qualified for the 2000 Summer Olympics. Still in pain from her foot injury, she landed in eighth place after the first of five dives in the platform finals. She went on to earn the first gold medal for a female American platform diver since 1964.
2004 Summer Olympics
Wilkinson finished in fifth place at the 2004 Summer Olympics, but had left an impact on her competitors. Several of them repeated the techniques she used at the 2000 Olympics by starting their dives with a handstand.
2008 Summer Olympics
On June 26, 2008, Wilkinson qualified as a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Diving Team in diving by taking first place in the trials. She had already announced her retirement and this Olympics would be her final competition.