Fri, September 20, 2013

Despatie glad it's all over

By ALAIN BERGERON, QMI Agency


Canada's Alexandre Despatie reacts after a low-scoring final dive during the men's 3m springboard final at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 7, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Dalder


LONDON - The long scar on Alexandre Despatie is the only visible one he got from finishing 11th in his last Olympic Games.

His soul and heart weren’t too injured by this result, even if it was not as good as what he usually offered us. In a plain tone, repeating how proud he is of being in London despite his severe mid-June head injury, the 27-year-old diver admitted to something: “I have been waiting for this moment for a long time, for all of this to be over,” he said, after the three-metre springboard event.

“The Olympics can have that effect on you. I wanted to be here and I do not regret it a single second. No matter how difficult my journey was, I would do it again because the Games are special for me. It is why I dive and why I’m in love with my sport because I hope to live days like these.”

Forget the last dive, the aquatics centre was his last stage, and what a stage! He mentioned thinking about next year’s World Championships, which would give him an opportunity to leave his sport with a better final image than in his sixth and last dive yesterday.

After a dismal 22.10 points, which made him drop from eighth to 11th, Despatie was embraced by his coach Arturo Miranda after getting out of the water.

“People must not remember my last dive,” he said, blaming “bad luck”.

This last run for the Quebec diver was also the occasion for an historic event: Russia’s gold medal won by Ilya Zakharov, now sitting on a throne more used to Chinese athletes. The high level of competition left Despatie behind due to his lack of preparation these last few weeks.

“I always knew these guys would go on training during that time. And we saw the results today,” the double Olympic medallist admitted.

There’s lots of talk of retirement and cinema now presents itself as the next important step in his life. There, he could find new challenges.

“I still want to be an actor, but I will have to start from scratch. Yes, I dive, but it’s not all I am. I have other ambitions and I will give everything I have, the same way I did in the Games. I will make the right decisions.”

During the afternoon, after finishing seventh in the semifinal, Despatie relaxed by quietly watching a movie in his room of the Olympic Village.

In the late evening, with us, he watched the film of a whole carreer.