Photo of Scott Donie at the Barcelona Olympic diving finals pictured with the iconic Sagrada Familia Cathedral in the background. Photo by Rol Donie.
This week, I had the privilege of interviewing a friend and two-time diving Olympian, Scott Donie. Scott won a silver medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic games for 10 meter platform diving and placed 4th in the 1996 Olympics in the 3 meter springboard.
Today, Scott takes us down memory lane about his time at the Barcelona games and his tales of Olympic-level culinary events of paella-eating and porron wine drinking. No easy feat even for an Olympian!
Scott, tell us about some of the highlights and memorable experiences from your time at the Barcelona Olympic Games.
There are so many memorable moments from the Barcelona Olympics. It’s hard to top being on the Olympic podium and winning a silver medal. Some other great moments include marching into the stadium for Opening Ceremonies, hanging out on the beach in the Olympic Village, celebrating the win at the local bar at the bottom of Montjuic and spending time with my parents exploring the city.
The architecture in Barcelona is breathtaking. Probably the best photo ever taken of me diving was during the Olympic final in Barcelona. The Olympic pool in Montjuic was spectacular and my Dad took a picture of me with the famous Sagrada Familia cathedral by the legendary Antoni Gaudi in the background. (see above photo) Amazing.
What did you think of the city and its people?
The city seemed so friendly and laid back. Definitely a late night vibe. I remember feeling very welcomed by all the locals. They were very proud to be hosting the Olympics.
What about the food or food culture surprised you the most? Anything you didn’t like?
I love food and I always enjoy exploring local cuisine whenever I travel. All the food was great and my favorite was easily the paella. I also love tapas of every kind but always order the chorizo. And I love the late night dinners.
After the competition was over we were treated to a feast at a great restaurant. This is where I was introduced to the tradition of drinking from a porron. It is a glass wine decanter that looks like a watering can. We passed it around the table drinking a very sweet local wine. It was delicious and seemed like the perfect way to celebrate together.
Side Note: To drink from a porron, you begin by bringing the spout very close to the mouth and tilting it forward hoping to get the stream of wine into your mouth and not all over yourself and any others around you! It is rare to find someone who does it well, even in Catalonia, and even rarer to find a novice who will try it! Kudos to Scott!
Your parents stayed with a Spanish family instead of a hotel when they attended the Barcelona games. What was their experience like?
My parents were hosted by a local family during the Olympics and they were fantastic. When I visited it seemed like there was food and drink everywhere. The kitchen was always cooking. They were so warm and welcoming and my parents are still in touch with them 20 years later!
Anything else you’d like to share?
I absolutely love coffee. But when I was training for the Olympics I didn’t touch caffeine. But ever since my daughter was born I have become a coffee person. I would love to go back to Barcelona to experience the coffee and espresso. I guess that’s one thing I missed!
Thanks so much Scott, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us!
Here’s a link to my cafe cortado recipe , the espresso drink Scott was referring to. Scott, you and your family will have to join us for lunch and I’ll make you that espresso!
Scott recently wrote a blog post on how to enjoy watching the Olympics with your kids. Some great insights from a real expert. Worth a read.
More about Olympian, Scott Donie:
Scott is a two-time Olympian having won a silver medal in Barcelona in the 10 meter platform diving and also placing 4th in the 1996 Olympics for the 3 meter springboard.
Scott is an 11 time National Champion and currently is the Head Men’s and Women’s Diving Coach at NYU. He’s been Head Coach there since 2000.
Scott lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with his lovely wife and 6 1/2 year old daughter, Lucy.
Photo courtesy of Bill Frakes for Sports Illustrated