Fri, September 20, 2013

Canadians dive into medal mix

By LOUIS BUTCHER, QMI Agency


Canada's Jennifer Abel performs a dive during the women's 3m springboard semi-final at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 4, 2012.


Jennifer Abel and Emilie Heymans will try to win a second medal Sunday in the London Olympics.

The two Quebec divers successfully passed through the diving semifinals Saturday, in the individual three-metre springboard event.

Abel continued her streak by finishing fourth, as she did Friday, while Heymans had trouble with her second dive, which dropped her to the 18th and last ranking.

She however got back in the game on her next dive and finished among the 12 athletes moving on to the final round, this afternoon at 2 p.m. ET.

“Worried? Not really,” said Heymans, ranked eighth in the semifinals. “I hesitated a bit before jumping, which affected my entry. But I knew that the next three dives would give me opportunities to get back on track. Which I did.”

The judges were very severe, only giving her 46.20 points for her second dive. Heymans finished the day with a score of 331.35 points, almost six points lower than the previous day, where she ranked 6th.

“The key is not to panic and to work on the next dive.”

Heymans a quadruple Olympic medallist, never stood on the individual three-metre podium. Her highest ranking (10th) was in Athens, in 2004.

Abel was wearing her prettiest smile when she entered the interview area. She was very happy to be in the finals for the first time, in her second Olympic Games.

She had ranked 13th at 16 years of age, in the 2008 Beijing Games.

The diver kept the same rank as the prior day.

“Even if I remained fourth, my score has improved.” She went from 334.15 to 353.25 points.

“I dived assuredly, but there is still room for improvement,” she said. “I could have splashed less in my second and fourth dives.”

As expected, Chinese Minxia Wu once again dominated with 394.40 points.

Surprisingly, the second place went to Italian Tania Cagnotto, who managed to beat the other Chinese, Zi He, who ranked second up to that point.

“Contrary to what many think, it’s not just the bronze medal we’re fighting for,” said Abel.

Nevertheless, Wu, Beijing bronze medalist and Athens silver medalist, should continue her country’s hold on the sport, which has lasted for the last six Games.

They made it their domain after Sylvie Bernier’s gold medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Since then, they won two medals in Seoul (1988), in Sydney (2000) and in Athens (2004).

Let us not forget that Annie Pelletier is the last Canadian diver to win an Olympic medal in the individual three-metre event, during the 1996 Games in Atlanta.