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September 28, 2000

Montminy and Heymans synchronize to silver


CBC SPORTS ONLINE - Say what you will about Canada's performance at these 2000 Games, when it comes to new Olympic sports, Canadians rule in Sydney.

Canada's Anne Montminy and Emilie Heymans won the silver medal in the 10-metre synchronized diving event Thursday giving Canada its fourth medal in introductory sports, following a gold in triathlon and two bronzes in trampoline.

The silver is a grand achievement for Montminy and Heymans given their different body sizes and distinct techniques, plus the fact that the duo only started practising synchro together six weeks before the Olympics began. The duo who finished, with 312.03 points, were behind only China's Li Na and Sang Xue, who tallied 345.123 points.

Li Na and Sang Xue also won the women's 3m synchro event earlier in the week, while fellow teammates Xiong Ni, who has won diving medals at four consecutive Games, and Xiao Hailing won the men's 3m synchro event. The Chinese had hoped to sweep the Olympic diving, but had to settle for silver in two events, the women's individual 10m and the men's 10m synchro.

Australian divers Rebecca Gilmore and Loudy Tourky won bronze in the women's 3m, while teammates Robert Newbery and Dean Pullar came in third in the men's 3m synchro. It's the first time since 1924 that Australia has won a diving medal when Dicke Eve won gold in plain diving, an event that was later discontinued.

It is the second medal at these Games for the 25-year-old Montminy, who won the bronze in the individual 10m event on Monday.

"It's nice to have a silver medal," she told CBC. "We didn't concentrate as much on this event as we did at the individual event, but it's nice to come out a double medallist."

"I feel great," said Heymans, "I think we compete well (together); we did what we had to do."

It was the 18-year-old Heymans who kept the nervous veteran Montminy calm and focused.

"I think that's the way it was. She's afraid to say it," Montminy said. "It's been that way and she has the confidence, and kept saying, 'We're good, and we're good and the coaches are wrong.' It was really good. I heard that one a lot, the coaches are wrong."

The Canadians stood sixth through two of the five dives, but finished strongly, moving up to third after their third dive, and second after the fourth. It was that fourth dive, a reverse 2 1/2 tuck, that solidified their position behind the Chinese, who led throughout, as the other competitors faltered.

"I was having trouble with that dive in practice actually," said Montminy, "so I was just nervous (that I'd) land on my head.

"I just thought, I don't want to taint my bronze medal and land on my back."

With both Heymans and Montminy coming to Sydney focusing on Sunday's individual event, it took some practice for the two to mesh in the days since.

"Today we wanted them to land in the same pool," said Canadian coach Mitch Geller. "It wasn't our priority, so we're really proud of our girls. We've got two great divers and the trick was getting them to do their dives."

Gellar, who was initially skeptical about synchonized diving and said it wasn't a priority for the Canadian team, seems to have changed his tune.

"We're only seeing the beginnings of it," he said. "I can envision creative things happening where the divers may interact with each other a lot more like assisting each other on the takeoff or someone started from a handstand position and the other from a standing position."

While he sees the potential of this new sport, Gellar cautions that he doesn't want to see the addition of music and artistic impression.

"I want this to remain pushing the limits of human ability and that will remain sport."




















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