Wednesday, April 10, 2013 | 11:08 a.m.
Not the end, but the beginning. A loss, but still victorious. That was Palace Station headliner comedian Louie Anderson’s attitude after he fumbled a backward flip that turned into a belly flop on Tuesday night’s episode of “Splash” on ABC.
The poolside audience booed the judges for booting him with the lowest score, a narrow .25 below 2012 Miss Alabama USA and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model Katherine Webb. Coach and Olympic champion diver Greg Louganis and Katherine even burst into tears that our Las Vegas resident, who became a fan favorite, was kicked off.
“I’m just more upset to see Louie go than anything,” Katherine sobbed while hugging him. “I’m so proud of how far he has come in the competition.” As I reported Tuesday, it was an automatic elimination with no second chance of audience voting or a second dive to change the judges score.
“This is something that has changed my life,” said 60-year-old Louie graciously. “This is not my last dive. This is my first step into a brand new life. This is something that has changed my life.” Afterward, he tweeted: “I’m grateful, humbled and touched by the love of all of you who supported me.”
The seven remaining celebrities were challenged to perform a dive that involved a flip -- or several flips. It was extraordinary as Louie sat, then laid down on the 16-foot board, and agonizingly worried that for the first time, he was unsure about the dive.
The silence was deafening. “I can hardly turn in bed,” said the funnyman. Somehow facing the wrong way, he amazingly flipped himself over backward into the water, but, as the judges said after he landed unattractively on his chest and face, “It wasn’t pretty, but it certainly was brave.”
“You are probably the first 400-pound man in the world to ever do what you just did,” applauded legendary diver Steve Foley. He gave a score of 6 to Louie and Katherine.
Katherine, 23, attempted a frightening 23-foot high reverse somersault dive, which caused her to lose control halfway through the spin, also dangerous because mentor Greg said that it was the only time he’d been injured in the sport when his head hit the diving platform. It made headlines at the 1998 Olympics; Greg went on to win the gold despite the injury.
As the second to dive, Katherine had to nervously wait out the other contestants with her lowly score average of 6 points until Louie squeaked in behind with 5.75. She broke into tears when she realized that he was going home and not her.
Soccer star Brandi Chastain, actress Nicole Eggert (“Baywatch”), skier Rory Bushfield, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, young singer and actor Drake Bell and Katherine remain in the diving competition.
The show has come with injuries: Kareem sprained his neck. Ndamukong Suh bloodied his nose. Rory has a ruptured eardrum and has defied doctors orders not to dive, Katherine hurt herself in a practice landing for Tuesday’s show, Nicole suffered through pain in practice, and Brandi laughed that she could no longer put on her pants because her backside was so swollen from bad landings.
Louie admitted: “I have been hurting for a week. A lot of bumps and bruises. If I were laying down right now, you would have to help me up. I worried that I had some internal damage or bleeding. But the medic staff told me it was only my abs because I’d never worked them from the day I was born. I’m still shocked that I even went through with it.
“I’m lucky people thought I did a good job. I was either going to be inspirational or a laughingstock. I did it so other people out there can get off the couch. I had a lot of fun, but I wanted to win. I know people thought I didn’t have a chance, but I did great. It turned out to be the most exciting thing I’ve ever done.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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Palace Station, located just off Interstate 15 on West Sahara, offers comfort, luxury and affordability.
Originally called the Bingo Palace, the casino changed its name to Palace Station in 1984. Palace Station has more than 100,000 square feet of gaming space, including one of the biggest varieties of Baccarat and Pai Gow tile games off the Strip. The casino also offers more than 1,600 slot/video poker machines, 45 table games including blackjack, Pai Gow poker, Pai Gow tiles, Ultimate Texas Hold'Em, craps, roulette and baccarat.
Asian Table Games Area includes Pai-Gow Tiles and Mini and Midi Baccarat with no-commission EZ baccarat, along with Dragon 7 and Panda 8 side bets, plus Dragon Bonus for Midi Baccarat games.
The casino also features a 24-hour, nine-table, non-smoking poker room, a 307-seat bingo hall open 7 days a week with sessions running every other hour from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., a 230-seat race & sports book featuring 44 screens, and a 20-seat keno lounge.
Dining options include Cabo, which specializes in Mexican food, steaks and seafood at The Broiler and Italian from Pasta Cucina.
Entertainment includes Louie Anderson and other stand-up comedians.
(If you're interested in history, the Palace Station was also the site of some international news in 2007 and 2008 — it was where NFL Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson led a raid on a hotel room to try recover some of his sports memorabilia and was later convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping after a highly publicized trial.)