Silver lining for Heymans after Athens sadness

Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:24pm EDT
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By Derek Parr

BEIJING (Reuters) - Emilie Heymans assuaged the pain of losing an Olympic medal which had seemed hers in 2004 and bounced back with a silver on the platform in Beijing.

The Canadian's dreams dissolved in Athens when her final dive went wrong and she dropped from second to fourth.

Starting her final program on Thursday with the same back 2- somersaults with 1- twists, she held her nerve and nailed it.

She then unleashed a series of excellent dives, with the home crowd roaring on teenage favorites Chen Ruolin and Wang Xin, and came desperately close to becoming the first diver to beat the Chinese at these Games.

Chen eventually took gold and Wang the bronze.

"It's a really long time and you never know what can happen in four years. But I've been training really hard and I'm just glad that everything is over now," the Belgian-born 2003 world platform champion told journalists.

" ... I worked a lot on the head part and believed in myself and know that I can do really good as well."

Nevertheless, Heymans came to Beijing with a disappointment because she and Marie-Eve Marleau had failed to qualify for the synchronized platform at Canada's Olympic trials after she had taken silver in 2000 and bronze in 2004 with other partners.

She said she did not think about what had happened in Athens. "I was just trying to really stay calm and focused on what I had to do to make a good dive," she said. "I just wanted to finish the competition with an awesome dive."

She said she did not know whether she would carry on to the 2012 London Olympics, when she will be 30: "I'm just going to enjoy the moment right now and think about the future later."

<p>Emilie Heymans of Canada competes in the women's 10m platform diving final at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 21, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville</p>