Former Auburn Swimming Coach Tells Crazy Bo Jackson Diving Story

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Bo Knows… backstroke?

Another story has emerged to remind you of the Olympian strength harnessed by former Pro Bowl running back and MLB All-Star Bo Jackson. The story comes from his alma mater, Auburn University, as a former diving coach recounts the time Bo walked in—with no prior experience in the sport, per usual—and stunned the university’s diving team with his natural ability by performing a ridiculous dive.

According to the MLB story, Bo casually walked into the practice pool area for the Auburn U swim team in 1987 during the filming of a Nike commercial and performed a “double front flip dive,” which consists of “flying up into the air, doing a 2 1/2 tuck, two full front flips, and landing in a dive.”

“My jaw must’ve hit the floor,” said former Auburn diving coach Rick Theobald. “And all the divers, all the kids that were there, clapping and saying. ‘Oh my God!’ They were all just as shocked and impressed as I was.”

Adding another layer of brilliance to Bo’s diving skills in this story was the massive build that made Jackson such an anomaly to perform this trick. It was equally a matter of skill and the muscular physique that made him stand out among the swimmers.

“He was probably about 220 and the amount of muscle on him — it was a ridiculous amount for one person … When I was coaching Auburn, the largest guy I had was a guy named Mike Smith. He was 5-foot-10, 5-foot-11 and probably weighed about 170 pounds. A solid rock stomp of muscle. The NCAA champion Jose Roach was about 150 pounds and he was 5-foot-7 or 5-foot-8. The other guys in the pool who I think were there probably weighed about 130?”

During his time at Auburn, Bo racked up 4,303 career yards to lead one of the all-time best college careers for a running back, then getting drafted No. 1 overall in the ’86 NFL Draft … and the ’86 MLB Draft.

Bo’s legacy as an unstoppable wrecking ball on two legs led him to Pro Bowl honors in 1990, while his power swings and magnetism toward the bases led him to an MLB All-Star nod while playing as an outfielder for the Kansas City Royals part time in ’89.

Theobold concluded, “Everyone going to Auburn at that time was always waiting to see the next miracle that Bo was gonna pull off.”

Hard for them to be disappointed with the storied careers that followed.

Written by Alejandro Avila

Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan that has watched every movie.


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