The Final Word: Krysta Palmer
Our conversation with Nevada-born Olympian Krysta Palmer, who won the bronze medal in the 3-meter Women’s Springboard at the Olympic Games in 2020.
NM&VG: Krysta, you’ve enjoyed a very successful athletic career. When did you get your start?
KP: I started gymnastics when I was around 5 years old. At 12, trampoline captured my heart, and I did that for about eight years.
NM&VG: Why did you transition from trampoline to diving?
KP: I had two knee injuries over my trampoline career. When I was 18, I decided to phase out of the sport: I only have one body, and I didn’t want to get any more injuries. One day, I was visiting a friend who worked at the Carson Valley Swim Center. He knew how to change the diving board settings, so I did all the things that I knew from trampoline. I didn’t know how to land on my head back then, but he recommended I get in touch with the person who is now my coach, Jian Li You at the University of Nevada, Reno.
NM&VG: So, diving was just a hobby in the beginning?
KP: It was. When I met Jian Li, I told her I was only looking for something fun that would be easier on my body. But after I jumped around a little bit, she got pretty excited and told me to come back every night of the week. Within three months, she offered me the spot on her college team.
NM&VG: Do you remember when you realized you could go all the way to the Olympics?
KP: My Olympic dream became more of a reality after my coach took me to China for a month-long training trip in 2016, which was the hardest training I’ve been through in my life. I think going there really shifted my mindset from being a collegiate athlete to a professional athlete, especially after watching those young kids in China and how hard they train. Such a high level of diving helped me envision where I wanted to go. I thought ‘OK I’m going to be doing diving a little bit more long term than originally planned.’
NM&VG: You grew up outside Carson City and live in Reno now. Where do you take people when they visit the area?
KP: Well, obviously I show them Tahoe, but I like to take people in the diving community to the springboard manufacturer Duraflex, located outside Reno. Their springboards are sent all over the world, and they’re the only springboard that top level athletes train and compete on. Showing visitors how springboards are designed and built is really cool, and it gives people in the diving world just so much appreciation for the equipment we train on.
NM&VG: What restaurants would you take a Reno visitor to?
KP: I would definitely go to Archie’s Giant Hamburgers & Breakfast because they have a breakfast burrito that’s named after me! It’s called The Olympian.
NM&VG: Are you feeling ready for 2024?
KP: Yes, I’m getting pretty busy. I have a World Championship Trials competition at the beginning of December. World Championships, if I qualify, would be in February. Then the Olympic trials are June next year, and Olympic Games is August.