June 12, 2007
(click on the above link to see the story that aired on Volunteer TV)
Knoxville (Sports Overtime) -- Last month, Maryville resident Bob Christiansen competed in the Spring Masters Diving National Championships. Bob went to Miami with high hopes. He returned with two gold medals.
Sports Overtime's Daryl Hobby recently went poolside with the former Vol, and as Daryl tell us, diving is Bob's desire, but it nearly meant his death.
It's like flying, if only for a few seconds at a time.
"It is weightlessness," Bob Christiansen said. "There is a fear aspect involved."
And now, 53 years old, Bob Christianson has been
twisting, turning, and twirling in the air since he was
"I guess the big allure is I'm able to do something that most people can't do."
A Savannah, Georgia native, that diving determination led to a scholarship at the University of Tennessee. It was during his freshman year, his life literally took a dive.
"I was learning a new dive, a difficult one, a reverse 1 1/2 with a two and a half twist. I kept getting lost in the twist portion and landing on my
stomach. II thought I knocked the wind out of myself so I got up and attempted the dive two more times, and crashed 2 more times. What I didn't realize is that I ruptured my spleen and I bled internally for about 5 1/2 hours."
5 1/2 hours after Bob ruptured his spleen, he finally made it to the hospital. He says he was 5 to 7 minutes away from dying. The fact that he lived he calls divine intervention. He was in the hospital for a month.
He lost 65 pounds, and the doctor told him he would never dive in competition again.
"The first thing I did was go thru denial. Immediately I said, no way. I was ready to argue that point. You lay awake at nights and think, maybe he's right and I was wrong and I need to re-evaluate this."
And still dive is what Bob did. Just 9 months later, he was back in the pool, ready to make a splash.
"The first time I came back to do the dive I got hurt on, I probably spent 30 minutes on the board before I could get my first step to start. My mind said go. My body said no it was crazy glued to the diving board. It took a while, but threw it all I've loved the sport."
Every Christiansen dive is a perfect example of science. What goes up, must come down. Just don't expect Bob Christienson's spirit to drown anytime soon.
"Please don't tell me I can't do it cause it will only make me re-double my efforts as for determination and stick after it."
In Knoxville, Daryl Hobby, Volunteer TV Sports Overtime.
Christiansen dove for Tennessee from 1972 till 1976, where he was an all-SEC performer. In 1999, he was inducted into the Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame.