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What We Can Learn From a Late-Blooming Olympian

Asked what other athletes can learn from her story, Cozad Magaña quickly replied, “You can’t do it alone.”

Amy Cozad Magaña is one of the nation’s best divers. But she is, by all accounts, a later bloomer, since she didn’t rack up medals and trophies in middle or high school.

Here are three things parents can learn from Cozad Magaña’s story:

Don’t place limits or expectations on your child

Cozad Magaña’s parents, Thomas and Donna Cozad, were always supportive of her sporting decisions.

Amy Cozad Magana Mug
Amy Cozad Magaña

Initially a swimmer, Cozad Magaña decided to pursue diving. She also asked to become more serious when she trained under acclaimed coach Sean McCarthy.

One of her other coaches, Jeff Huber, said the parental support was critical to Cozad Magaña’s long-term success.

“Eventually, it has to be their sport and their goals because they choose so,” Huber said. “Give the kid time to grow, not just as an athlete but also as a human being.”

For her part, Cozad Magaña said she didn’t focus on expectations or results. Instead, she was committed to the corrections McCarthy provided on a continual basis.

“Even if I didn’t get the great scores or didn’t win,” Cozad Magaña said, “I focused on what we were doing and doing my best.”

Find inspiration 

Huber is one of the best American diving coaches ever. A 13-time USA Diving coach of the year, Huber looked past the lack of strong results when Cozad Magaña was a high school diver.

“It isn’t all about talent,” Huber said. “It’s what you do with what you have. The greatest glory is in going beyond what you think you can do and continually striving to reach your greatest potential. We can never reach it but we can continue the struggle.”

DIVER AMY COZAD MAGAÑA PERSONIFIES PERSISTENCE

Huber points to a famous quote from Pierre de Coubertin, dubbed the father of the modern Olympics. “The most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle,” de Coubertin said.

Huber said every athlete cannot be a champion but every athlete can have the character of a champion.

“Inspired and highly motivated athletes — and students — continue to amaze me by what they can accomplish,” Huber said.

Lean on a strong support network 

Asked what other athletes can learn from her story, Cozad Magaña quickly replied, “You can’t do it alone.”

She said her parents, grandparents, aunts, coaches and teachers helped shape her.

“Everyone was put in your life to help you reach your goals,” she said. “Especially when you get to be 15 years old, you develop your ego and you think you can do it all on your own. But you don’t have to.”

Sports in this article

Diving