Olympic Games Replay: Quebec’s ‘Fab Four’ make a splash at Rio 2016

It is now been six weeks because the whole world of sport abruptly floor to a whole halt.

As the worldwide neighborhood struggles to curb the advance of COVID-19 and the unfold of the coronavirus, we watch, wait, and mirror on the large congregating energy of sport which we regularly take without any consideration.

Till competitors begins once more, many people can solely look again at a few of the occasions we, as followers, have savoured within the current previous and the accomplishments of so many gifted athletes that are price remembering.

This Saturday, April 25, would be the sixth of a number of weeks of programming at CBC Sports activities which can showcase a few of the most memorable moments from varied editions of the Olympics, each winter and summer time.

Episode No. 6 of Olympic Video games Replay options diving competitors from the 2016 Video games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was the primary Olympic gathering because the 1996 Video games in Atlanta with out Canada’s most embellished worldwide divers, Alexandre Despatie and Emilie Heymans.

Nonetheless, in Rio, the Canadian crew was led by a bunch of gifted ladies from the province of Quebec who got here to be often known as the “Fab 4.”

Pamela Ware, Jennifer Abel, Roseline Filion, and Meaghan Benfeito entered the Video games all having gained medals at varied world championships. Benfeito, Filion and Abel had been attending their third Olympics and all had been medallists in synchro occasions at London 2012.

Hopes had been excessive that the Canadian divers might construct on a historical past which had seen them win 13 medals since their sport got here onto the Olympic program for the lads in St. Louis in 1904 and for the ladies in Stockholm in 1912.

Except for Hamilton, Ontario’s Irene MacDonald’s bronze medal within the 3m springboard occasion on the 1956 Video games in Melbourne, Australia, and British Columbian Blythe Hartley’s bronze within the 10m synchronized competitors on the Athens Video games in 2004, the entire Canadian podium finishes had been recorded by athletes from Quebec.

In 1984 Quebec Metropolis’s Sylvie Bernier turned the final non-Chinese language diver to win Gold within the 3m springboard at Los Angeles. However the different medallists together with Anne Montminy, Annie Pelletier, Emilie Heymans and Alexandre Despatie turned family names in la Belle Province.

In Rio, diving competitions had been held on the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre named after the primary South American girl to compete on the Olympic Video games. Lenk was a world-record holding swimmer who represented Brazil on the 1932 Video games in Los Angeles and is thought to be one of many nation’s best feminine athletes of all-time.

The diving facility was outside in Rio de Janeiro and on the day of the ladies’s 10m synchronized platform remaining the water turned a murky inexperienced, the results of cleaners mistakenly including 160 litres of hydrogen peroxide into the tank previous to competitors.

‘A match made in heaven’

The Canadians, Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion, who was coming again after an ankle break the December earlier than the Video games, gained their second consecutive bronze medal on the Olympics after claiming bronze in the identical occasion 4 years earlier in London.

“Roseline is among the most spectacular divers in Canadian historical past due to her grit and dedication,” mentioned Blythe Hartley, who supplied evaluation for CBC of the diving competitions in Rio.

“She turned the most effective on the earth solely by means of exhausting work and being relentless. Roseline exceeded everybody’s expectations all through her profession, which is why she is among the best in Canadian historical past.”

WATCH | Benfeito, Filion declare bronze in Rio:

Canada’s Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion declare ladies’s 10m platform synchro bronze at 2016 Summer time Olympics. Benfeito additionally gained the bronze medal within the particular person 10m platform occasion. 0:57

For Filion, it was a final worldwide competitors and the top of 12-year partnership with Meaghan Benfeito. The 2 had first been on the world championship podium collectively in 2005 at residence in Montreal.

“We began as pals and have become sisters. We had many ups and downs, however I really feel like our duo was a match made in heaven,” Filion mirrored.

“Rio was undoubtedly the largest problem of my profession. Many months of hysteria become psychological toughness and ultimately made me a stronger competitor. I ended up wanting it extra and I had one of the best companion in Meaghan to undergo it with. Now now we have recollections that we’ll cherish perpetually.”

And on the inexperienced water scenario, Filion shrugged as she recalled how she and Benfeito overcame the distraction.

“Meaghan and I assumed it was a bit gross,” she laughed. “However we informed ourselves … within the water, shut your eyes, shut your mouth and it will likely be superb!”

WATCH | Filion a terrific affect on Benfeito:

“She was simply one of the best companion”: 3x Olympic bronze medallist Meg Benfeito makes use of what she discovered from Roseline Filion to assist her mentor the following technology of Canadian Olympic divers. 1:43

“The inexperienced pool was memorable and undoubtedly odd,” mentioned Hartley. “However should you apprehensive about it or expended vitality specializing in it, it might impression your efficiency. One of the best divers know learn how to filter out distractions and concentrate on what’s inside their management – their dives. For those who concentrate on the distraction, the Olympic second will move you by.”

The Olympic alternative didn’t elude Meaghan Benfeito, who was 27-years-old on the time. After standing second following the semi-final within the 10m particular person platform occasion on the London Olympics, she had faltered to complete 11th within the remaining.

In Rio she put collectively a robust efficiency and in the end claimed the primary particular person Olympic medal of her profession by ending with the bronze behind two closely favoured Chinese language divers.

Nearly as vital as profitable the medal was Benfeito’s realization that the Chinese language divers may be assailable when she competes at her fourth Olympics in Tokyo in the summertime of 2021.

“The Chinese language divers are superb,” Benfeito conceded in a Zoom interview from her residence in Montreal. “They’re terrific athletes, good individuals and fantastic position fashions, however I do know they are often overwhelmed.”

Heartbreak for Abel

These had been the one two medals that Canadian divers gained in Rio, however coming shut twice was Jennifer Abel who had gained bronze in London with Emilie Heymans within the 3m synchronized occasion.

The primary near-miss in Brazil was in the identical 3m synchronized competitors along with her then-partner Pamela Ware. They completed fourth, eight tenths of a degree off the rostrum. After which Abel was once more an in depth fourth within the particular person 3m springboard remaining.

WATCH | Abel sharpened by disappointments:

After lacking out on the rostrum twice at Rio, Jennifer Abel has discovered a brand new focus in her coaching. 2:39

She too can be competing at her fourth Olympics in Tokyo and can head to the Video games as Canada’s most embellished world championship diver having amassed ten complete medals over the course of her outstanding profession.

“I do know Jennifer was actually disenchanted with the fourth place outcomes,” Blythe Hartley reasoned.

“Nonetheless, I feel it has supplied her with some perspective that has benefitted her and made her even higher main as much as the 2021 Olympics. She continues to be one of the spectacular divers on the earth and is unquestionably a gold medal contender in Tokyo.”

Diving on the Olympics has been dominated by athletes from China since they first re-entered the trendy Video games in Los Angeles in 1984. However in that span their most constant rivals have come from Canada — and Rio 2016 proved that time once more.

The pool of diving expertise on this nation stays deep heading to the following Olympic gathering.

Olympic Video games Replay will stream on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET on CBCSports.ca in addition to air throughout the CBC tv community. Examine your native listings for the time in your area. 

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