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Retired local teacher’s pool diving goes viral on TikTok

Pam Palmer’s morning routine at the Roanoke Elks Lodge has become an internet sensation.
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 11:26 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - 64-year-old Pam Palmer’s morning routine at the Roanoke Elks Lodge has become an internet sensation.

The local retiree says she and her partner go to the pool every day, but never expected to get the response from her dives from other members, let alone 363K likes and 9560 shares from a TikTok post.

“I was kind of surprised, my friend was showing me all the people from all over the world and their comments,” said Palmer. “I always say the hardest part is getting up the ladder.”

When asked about her skills, Palmer says athletics has always been part of her life. Her mother was a PE teacher at Cave Spring High School, where Pam also attended and excelled on the gymnastics team before earning a scholarship to Western Kentucky University.

She also traveled playing volleyball, competing in the USAV.

Afterward, she followed in her family’s footsteps and began her career as a PE teacher and gymnastics coach in Roanoke County that would span 30 years.

“I came back to Roanoke and opened up a gymnastics school with a friend of mine for a while, and I started teaching for Roanoke County and taught elementary physical education, and coached for Northside Junior,” recalls Palmer. “I love children at that age and loved getting them started at their skills.”

Palmer says she retired eight years ago after being diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis, joining the Elk’s Lodge for another hobby.

She says until she started coming to the pool in the summer, she hadn’t dived for fun since college.

“I got up there one day and just tried it and thought my goodness, I can’t believe I can still do that!” exclaimed Palmer, followed by her contagious laugh. “I sneak up there all the time because when I go off everybody cheers and claps.”

I watched as Palmer performed a 1 1/2 flip off the high diving board, and joined other adults and children in their amazement.

“They come up to me all the time and the children come up to me all the time, ‘Oh you’re such a good diver!’,” mimics Palmer. “I thank them and tell them they can be too. They can do anything that they want, as long as they try.”

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