'Splash' crowns Rory Bushfield its celebrity diving champion
By Reality TV World staff, 05/08/2013
Splash crowned extreme skier Rory Bushfield its winner during Tuesday night's broadcast of the reality diving competition's finale episode on ABC.
"I think I'm just inspired by my wife [freestyle skier Sarah Burke] looking down [on me], and I'm very motivated by her friends and family. We started a Sarah Burke foundation, so I'm very motivated to spread the word and help kids like Sarah did, so yeah, that's my motivation," Rory told Splash co-host Charissa Thompson when asked what inspires him just before taking his last dive on the show.
Rory won the diving competition after he received more votes from the studio audience than final championship dive-off opponent Nicole Eggert. Rory, who was competing with a ruptured eardrum against a doctor's orders, impressed the audience with two front flips and a dive head-first into the water off the 33-feet platform.
Nicole, an actress, finished in second place after brutally landing on her back during her final dive, however, she was checked out by medics and declared fine.
"It's been unbelievable. I'm so happy inside. I figured if I'm going against Rory, I have to come up with something good, right? So I've never done this, but I'm going to try a double back flip off the seven-meter. Go big or go home!" Nicole said prior to diving.
Before the audience's vote was revealed, Splash judges David Boudia -- a London Olympic U.S. Gold medalist -- and Steve Foley, an Australian Olympic athlete and USA Dive Team director, both agreed Rory should win following the dive-off.
"Nicole has a heart of a champion and has been through hell and back in this competition. But Rory did the dive of his life. He finally did that real dive like I said on Night 1. He did that front two-and-a-half straight up and down. Congratulations. My vote would go to Rory, but it's not up to me," David said, referencing how a "real dive" to him is head-first rather than feet-first into the water.
"Nicole, you redefined the word courage," explained Steve. "I mean, you're unbelievable and you did a back-double and you jumped off the tower like you were an Olympian. It was incredible. Rory, David summed it up. You saved the best for last. That front two-and-a-half was unbelievable... Your natural talent is special, absolutely special. I think I'd pick Rory for the dive because it was up and down-vertical compared to Nicole's over-rotation, but it's not up to me!"
Rory and Nicole competed in the final round as the show's Top 2 divers following the finale broadcast's initial round of competition in which Nickelodeon star Drake Bell had also participated. The three divers performed a dive and were judged by Steve and David, who got to determine which two contestants would advance to the championship dive-off.
For his first dive of the night, a back-double with two twists from 33 feet, Rory received an average score of 9.25 from the judges.
Nicole originally earned an average score of 8.5 for her handstand somersault from 23 feet.
Drake finished Splash in third place after receiving a 7.0 average score for his inward one-and-a-half dive.
"It was really awesome to be able to learn this stuff and hang out with all these people," Drake said following his ouster. "I've made great friends here and I just hope one day I'll be as badass as Rory. I can only hope."