USA Diving: Brittany Viola Overcame Difficult Odds To Get To London

DALLAS, TX - MAY 15: Diver, Brittany Viola, poses for a portrait during the 2012 Team USA Media Summit on May 15, 2012 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

After overcoming bulimia and two surgeries on her ankle, Brittany Viola is poised to try and take home the diving gold in London this summer.

Brittany Viola comes from a good athletic background. Born in St. Paul, Minn., her father is Frank Viola, the Most Valuable Player in the 1987 World Series with the Minnesota Twins who also won the 1988 Cy Young Award and was a three-time All-Star in Major League Baseball.

Starting off as a gymnast, Brittany redirected her energy into diving at the age of 13. But by the age of 15, and worried about her body type and how it would affect her diving, she found herself battling bulimia to try and lose weight and had to be hospitalized, spending 40 days in inpatient therapy.

Eventually overcoming her eating disorder, Viola suffered another setback after an ankle injury led to two surgeries in 2009 and 2010.

But now, all of that is behind her and Brittany Viola is looking forward to competing for a gold medal in London at the 2012 Olympic games, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune:

"This is my year, I know it," the 25-year-old said in an interview during a recent Olympic Media Summit in Dallas. "I'm going to continue to push my performance and reach the goals I've set for myself."

Viola won gold medals at the USA Diving Winter National Championships and National Diving Championships in 2011 and she told the Pioneer Press in early July that she wants to use her life experiences as an inspiration to help others:

"I've had a desire to speak to young women's lives," she said. "I know the pressures from coaches and parents and how heavy their words can weigh on a woman. I'd love to be able to speak to them and be an encourager in their lives."

For more Olympics coverage, you can stick with this SB Nation Minnesota stream, or check out SB Nation's Olympic hub. You can also watch SB Nation's YouTube channel:

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