Mon, September 23, 2013

Alexandre Despatie was one centimetre from missing Games

By ALAIN BERGERON, QMI Agency


Diver Alexandre Despatie's head injury, suffered during a practice dive, would have been much worse had his head hit the board one centimetre away from where it did, he says. (TZARA MAUD/QMI Agency file photo)


LONDON - One centimetre allowed Alexandre Despatie to participate in his fourth Olympic Games rather than watch them from his living room.

The Quebec swimmer revealed that his concussion would have been more severe had his head hit the springboard differently during his training accident in Spain on June 2. According to the doctors who examined him in the following hours, Despatie would have suffered much more than a 10-second blackout if his forehead had hit the board a centimetre lower.

“I knew it was more than a 10-centimetre cut. It was big. If my head had been hit a centimetre lower, the concussion would have been more severe and I would be sitting at home right now. I would not have been allowed to dive for at least 30 days,” the 27-year-old diver said. He will compete in the synchronized 3M event alongside Reuben Ross on Wednesday.

Relaxed and in good spirits during this only press conference before the competition begins, Despatie says he’s felt good since his arrival in London.

The cursed dive that put a zipper on his scalp doesn’t haunt him anymore. He performs his triple and a half somersault without hesitation. He had to do it again eventually and when he did, on July 13th, he chased the demons away for good.

“It was not that solemn. Arturo (Miranda, his coach) didn’t wake me that morning saying ‘It’s today.’ It just happened, the training and the moves were going well and we just decided it was time,” Depatie said.

“I was afraid, no surprise there. I was very focused on what I had to do and I’ve been that way since.”