Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Anderson in a lot of pain after belly flop on Splash

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Comedian Louie Anderson says he's been in pain all week from a recent diving mishap during a taping of the ABC celebrity diving show Splash.

Anderson, who weighs more than 400 pounds, was trying to do a flip from the five-metre board when he slammed into the water, landing on his face and chest.

"If I were lying down right now, you would have to help me up," the 60-year-old Anderson said. "It's been almost a week and it still hurts almost as much."

Anderson, who skipped diving practice this week to take the stage in Sioux Falls, S.D., for a show benefiting the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy, said he asked the Splash staff after the accident if he was suffering internal bleeding or damage but was told no.

"They said, 'That's your abs. You've never worked them,'" Anderson joked. "The last time I worked them was when I was struggling to get out of my mother. That was it, and I haven't worked them since."

The American version of Splash, a surprise hit that originated in Europe, has Olympic gold medallist Greg Louganis coaching a diverse cast of celebrities that includes Detroit Lions lineman Ndamukong Suh, 2012 Miss Alabama Katherine Webb, basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and former Baywatch star Nicole Eggert.

Anderson said he's not alone coming away with some bumps and bruises.

"Ndamukong Suh hit his nose. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sprained his neck," he said. "Nicole was up on a handstand and she slammed her chest and stomach into the five-metre board and then fell into the water -- and then, two hours later, had to do the dive on TV."

Anderson, who learned how to swim just five years ago, said he decided to give the show a try after producers showed him a clip of the Netherlands version. He said it's the most exciting thing he's ever done.

"I'm at 23 feet, diving into 17 feet of water. I'm over 400 pounds," he said. "Who doesn't want to see that? I do. I'm always shocked that I can do it."

The stand-up comedian said he's glad the show is catching on with viewers.

"I didn't have any idea if it would be a hit or not," he said. "I was either going to be inspirational or a laughingstock. So I'm lucky that some people thought I did a good job."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 30, 2013 G4

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