They call him The Comeback Kid. Today, just nine months after a near-fatal car crash, 19-year-old Bruce Kimball of Michigan won a silver medal in the 10-meter platform diving competition at the National Sports Festival.
The accident last October left Kimball with a shattered face, a fractured skull and internal injuries. He was in the hospital for a month. His jaw was wired shut for 10 weeks. It wasn't until March that he could even walk normally.
Today Kimball was not only back, he was just a few points from beating Greg Louganis, a silver medalist in the 1976 Olympics. Both Louganis, 22, and Kimball qualified for the platform event at the world championships to be held in Ecuador.
Craig Virgin, the U.S. record holder in the 10,000-meter run and the winner of last year's 5,000-meter race at the National Sports Festival, blamed his third-place finish in that event today on, guess who, his competitors.
"The name of the game is to go fast and go for records as well as victories," said Virgin, who led until the last few hundred meters. "I was tired. I asked several people early in the race to help me out, to give me a break and give me a lap off to recover. Nobody would."
Heavyweight boxer Tyrell Biggs, 21, one of the United States' best bets for gold in the 1984 Olympics, won his first-round match here this week, but broke his hand doing it. It was the second year in a row that Biggs has broken his right hand in a National Sports Festival bout.
This year's festival, which opened Friday night, already has outdrawn last year's, which was held in Syracuse. Ticket sales through Sunday totaled $738,864, said Jack Berger, promotion director. The gate for the eight-day run of the 1981 festival was about $450,000, he said.