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Olympic Diver Coaxed Off Thomas Bridge

December 28, 1988|From Associated Press

A bronze medal winner in the 1964 Olympic diving competition, who recently made a death-defying leap from a 160-foot Long Beach Harbor bridge, was talked down from another bridge, authorities said.

Larry Andreasen, the bronze-medal winner in the springboard diving competition at the Tokyo Olympics of 1964, was talked down from the Vincent Thomas Bridge between San Pedro and Terminal Island on Tuesday, Los Angeles Port Police Sgt. Dale Dupler said.

In September, Andreasen, 43, survived a 160-foot dive off the Gerald Desmond Bridge into the Long Beach Harbor and spent several days in the hospital.

At the time, police and fire officials questioned whether Andreasen was attempting suicide, but he told authorities he "just wanted to see if he had the old Olympic stuff," according to police Lt. Howard Jenkins.

At the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Andreasen completed an American sweep of the springboard diving event, finishing behind Kenneth Sitzberger and Francis Gorman, who won the gold and silver medals, respectively.

Dupler said Andreasen was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center for a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation after he was talked down from the bridge about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Port police Officer Lloyd Harbin spent about 10 minutes trying to persuade Andreasen to climb down, authorities said.

Dupler said Andreasen was on the bridge for about 45 minutes and was in his street clothes, just as he was for the Sept. 30 jump.

The bridge is 365 feet above Los Angeles Harbor channel at its highest point.

Andreasen was at least 200 feet up, police said.

Andreasen's father, Leo Andreasen, said his son has dreamed of setting diving records, adding that he was surprised by this latest incident.

"I thought he had it out of his system," he said.

"He's a good diver," Leo Andreasen added. "He knows what he's doing. He may have made it."

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