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Flopping at World Cup impresses U.S. Olympic diving coach

Drew Johansen

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 30: (L-R) U.S. Olympian Abby Johnston, Coach Drew Johansen and U.S. Olympian Kelci Bryant pose with thir medals during their visit the USA House at the Royal College of Art on July 30, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for USOC)

Joe Scarnici

The World Cup has many thinking about the next Olympics, which will be in Rio de Janeiro in two years.

Soccer players flopping -- as much a World Cup tradition as the “magic spray” and post-match jersey swaps -- caught the eye of 2012 U.S. Olympic diving coach Drew Johansen.

“I have been watching the World Cup and have been very impressed with the dives I have seen,” Johansen told The Associated Press. “Similar to the sport of diving, it’s all about getting the judges’ (referees’) attention. I think [Brazil striker] Fred’s use of his arms really got the job done on that dive [against Croatia to earn a penalty kick]. I would score at 9.5 on the Olympic scale.”

Johansen, who also coaches at Indiana University, helped the U.S. in 2012 to its first Olympic diving medals in 12 years.

Brazil has never won an Olympic diving medal, but host nations always get a boost at the Games. Perhaps the World Cup is a sign of things to come.

“After watching the dives done by Brazil footballers I can only imagine how their diving team is improving in preparation for the Games in Rio 2016,” Johansen joked to the AP. “I think I will call our IU soccer coach [Todd] Yeagley ... and see if I can learn any new diving techniques to help give my team an edge.”

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