Holly Springs diver goes for gold at Summer Games in Tokyo

HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. (WTVD) -- One of the thousands of global athletes preparing to compete in the Tokyo Summer Games is from right here in Wake County. Andrew Capobianco from Holly Springs is going for gold in diving. Pandemic restrictions at the games meant Capobianco's mom and dad couldn't make the trip to Japan. So, they're watching anxiously from home and talking to ABC 11.

"The crazy thing is, it really hasn't hit me," said Andrew's mother, Darlene Capobianco. "I think it's gonna hit us when we see opening ceremonies tomorrow morning. Honestly, I'm hoping he has a really good time. A medal would just be the bonus."

Andrew left for Tokyo on Sunday...He'll compete in two events: the 3-meter springboard individual and a synchronous version with his partner Michael Hixon.

With spectators barred from most events because of COVID-19, mom, Darlene and dad, Mike, stayed behind in Holly Springs.

In Andrew's bedroom, Mike gave the tour of a very proud diving dad - showing off the countless medals and trophies Andrew earned over the last decade. There's the picture of an 11-year old Andrew with diving legend Greg Louganis and the first trophy Andrew won for USA Diving.

He's currently a 21-year-old student-athlete at Indiana University. Diving has been his life since he was 11. The Capobiancos moved from New York to Holly Springs when he was 13.

Andrew's diving regiment was intense: diving practice at 6 a.m.; school at Holly Springs High; then practice until 6:30 with Duke University's diving club team.

"So he had practice, high school, practice, homework, eat, and sleep. Let's get up and do it again," Mike said.

All of it paid off at the Olympic trials in June. Andrew was sick with a cold, a back injury and was down big on the leaderboard.

"He found himself going into finals over 60 points behind the other divers. He was in 6th place and only the top two to go," said Darlene.

Andrew walked to the end of the board. He nailed it. In six dives going from 60 points down to within five of the lead -- qualifying for the games.

"People were coming up saying, 'How did he manage that?' I said two words: God's will," Mike said.

Back in Andrew's childhood bedroom, his father showed off the rack of competition medals, days before his son competes for his greatest golds yet. His biggest fans are 7,000 miles away in Holly Springs.

"I truly believe if he puts in his best he can bring home a medal, if not gold," Mike said. "It would look pretty cool up on the rack. We might have to get a new one."

International Olympic Committee rules kept ABC 11 from talking virtually with Andrew Capobianco for this story. But, his mom and dad say they are facetiming with him every morning. Darlene says mentally, physically, and emotionally -- he's ready.
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