Olympic diver gets hero's welcome at Nassau Police Athletic League event

HICKSVILLE, Long Island (WABC) -- It was a hero's welcome for Olympic diver Andrew Capobianco on Long Island Monday, honored on his home turf after winning a silver medal in Tokyo.

The Wantagh native, fresh off his performance in the Men's 3-Meter Synchronized Springboard event with teammate Michael Hixon, spoke to Nassau County Police Athletic League youth camp participants in Hicksville about his Olympic experience as well as his road from Long Island to the world's greatest stage.

There were cheers and commendations for the 21-year-old, whose parents are retired officers -- and his mom used to run the very program that honored him.

"I used to go to camps all the time just to make myself better," he said.

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It took more than camp to get him to the Olympics. He started diving at 11 and trains four hours a day, six days a week. But he recommends balance.

"When your parents tell you to go to school and do your homework, I'm sorry to tell you that you need to go to school and do your homework," he said. "Because otherwise you're not going to become as good as you want to be in your athletics if you're not doing well in your academics."

He is smart and dedicated, and not just to sports.

"What he's doing for these children and inspiring them, this is the most important part of his journey so far through Tokyo, is to come home and give back to the children in the community," his dad Michael Capobianco said.

"It's important for him to be a mentor and that's his goal," his mother Darlene Capobianco said.

And he's quickly made an impression.

"Motivation," camper Chris Ruotolo said. "He kept on working hard and didn't give up."

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His medal wasn't just for a dive but for synchronized dives with teammate Michael Hixon.

His former coach, Gary Young, teared up at the event.

"Andrew is probably one of the best athletes I've ever coached," he said.

Capobianco will return to Indiana University this fall for more collegiate competition and an eye on the Olympics in 2024.

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