Q&A with diver Kassidy Cook
Tell us about your family.
I come from a crazy family. Every person in my family's name, with the exception of my mom, starts with the letter "K." I have four sisters and one brother, and we are all really close. Kara lives in San Deigo, Kylie lives in Houston, Kelsey lives in San Antonio, Kevin lives in Fort Lauderdale and Kendall goes to University of Texas in Austin. My brother tries to pretend he isn't one of us because we're super embarrassing, but he loves us anyways!
I'm number five in the mix so I've had a lot of siblings to look up to. We were all athletes growing up! My sister Kara dove for Purdue and my sister Kylie played soccer for the University of Houston.
And you have two dogs, right?
I have two black labs. I love them! Their names are Bentley and Zoe. They are my best friends; I even let them sleep in my bed with me. Bentley loves to cuddle, haha. She is always the "little spoon."
What's your music of choice while training? What about training or pump-up music?
I listen to a wide variety of music! My iTunes ranges from bands like Led Zeppelin to Taylor Swift to Drake to Luke Bryan to Odesza. The last concert I went to was Taylor Swift's 1989 tour.
I would say that my main training music right now is the Led Zeppelin Pandora station. That is what me and my coach listen to every day at my morning practice.
My go-to motivation music would have to be Eminem. Something about the anger in his voice really gets me stoked.
Do you have a celebrity crush?
If we are talking just looks, Liam Hemsworth! He is one good looking fella! But if we factor in personality, I would say Harry Styles. Not that I know him personally, but from what I can see from his interviews, he seems goofy and funny with a hint of rebel - which I like.
What are some of your favorite television shows and movies?
GAME OF THRONES! I've read the books, too. I'm obsessed! I also like Parks and Recreation, The Office, Sons of Anarchy, Prison Break and How I Met Your Mother.
I am kind of an uber-dork. I love all things Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. I have different things that I collect from each movie, book or show. For example, I have the Elder Wand, a Harry Potter collectors' chest filled with all seven books, Yoda slippers, two light sabers, a Darth Vader mask with a built in voice changer and from Game of Thrones, a map of all of Westeros and a poster of Jon Snow and Khaleesi in my room.
What are your hidden talents?
I am weirdly good at paint balling. And I can quote just about any movie!
If you weren't an athlete, what would you like to be doing?
I could not imagine not being an athlete. If I weren't a diver though, I would want to be a soccer player! I played for 10 years.
But for real, if I were not an athlete, I would like to have Guy Fieri's job on his show "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives" - basically traveling the country and eat at all the best food joints!
Can you tell us about your experience in 2012?
Oh wow, where to even begin. About three weeks after the 2012 Olympic trials - where at the ripe age of 17, I missed the qualifying to the Olympics by less than half a point - I tore my labrum. I had to get major reconstructive surgery leaving me with six metal anchors in my shoulder. The doctors told my parents - but not me - I might not ever get the full range of motion that is necessary for diving. I did physical therapy that year, working hard as ever because I wanted to get back to where I was and prove myself after the heartbreak that I endured that summer. Around April 2013, things were looking up for me but then one day out of nowhere my shoulder began to dislocate. I went back to the doctor and got MRIs and discovered I needed to get a second surgery on my right shoulder in June 2013. I was leaving for college in September, so I did rehab that whole summer and went off to Stanford. I started diving again but things were not the same. Over the course of 2013 and 2014 (I also had a knee surgery at this time), I was not confident in my shoulder or my body as a whole and suffered mental and physical challenges. My whole freshman year and most of my sophomore, I was slowly starting to give up on my Olympic dreams, as they seemed unrealistic due to my injuries. I was not myself, mentally or physically. I was lost and depressed. It broke my heart. When I was about to give up completely, debating quitting diving as a whole, my old coach talked to me. He helped me get through some mental blocks and physical road blocks and long story short I decided to take this year off from Stanford and stay home to focus on training and reviving my dream to become an Olympian. Today I am 100 percent healthy and happy! I have gotten back all the dives I had lost due to my injury, but more importantly, I have gained back my confidence and my hunger to win. What kept me going through those two and a half years of struggling was the idea of never giving up on your dreams, no matter how far they seem away.
What is your pre competition ritual?
I cannot compete without my nails being painted! It's a weird tradition of mine! I always get a mani and pedi before a competition. Plus jamming out and dancing to some of my favorite music, watching inspirational videos (is #LeaveYourLegacy Stanford version) and I take an ice bath the night before every competition to make sure my legs are fresh.
What's your earliest memory of diving?
I started diving when I was 3 years old. I actually remember it, surprisingly! My older sisters were divers at the time so I was basically raised on the pool deck and as soon as I was old enough to jump off the boards, I did!
What's your earliest memory of the Olympics in general?
I remember Laura Wilkinson winning the Olympics in 2000! It was amazing! Ironically, her coach at the time is now my coach!! I used to tell my mom that I wanted to be in the "Balimpics" when I was 5. I was obsessed with the Chinese divers and used to ask "what do you think the Chinese divers are doing right now??" Now my main goal is to beat the Chinese.
What's your worst habit?
I am extremely loud. I do not have an "inside voice!"