On Thursday, the day before the Opening ceremonies of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021, I was part of a press conference with the Canadian Olympic diving team. Here are the three questions I was able to ask:
Q: Maybe talk a little bit about your training. Did you do anything different with your training in preparing for Tokyo compared to the Olympic Games in Beijing, London, and Rio de Janeiro?
Jennifer Abel: “Every Olympic year is different. This year we couldn’t compete, so Diving Canada made some virtual national and international competitions. So, we had to modify our training and then adapt ourselves to virtual competitions, instead of having multiple competitions during the year. This was difficult because I am the type of athlete who gets better the more I compete. The more I compete, the more I get confident. This year was really hard for me because I could not compete as much as I would love to. Having those virtual competitions helped me to get here, and know what I am doing.”
Q: Compare having Roseline Filion as a partner to Caeli McKay. What are their similarities and differences?
Meaghan Benfeito: “Caeli is a lot taller than Rosie, and jumps higher. Their similarities are that they are really strong mentally. They both injured their ankles and were able to overcome it. They are just extremely strong, and the fact that I can rely on them, knowing that the job will be done. I am not worried at all about Caeli’s dives. I know she thinks I am crazy. But she will be fine. I am more worried about me than I am about her. I have absolutely nothing to complain about both of them, and I appreciate the fact I had the chance to dive with both of them. It is going to be a good Olympics this year, I think.”
Q: Talk about the transition of moving from Calgary to Montreal. Has it been easy for you?
Caeli McKay: “I moved to Montreal when I was quite young. I moved without my family, and moved into a completely French province. I did not speak French and moved into an environment with Olympians. I had met Meaghan, and had seen them on TV, but I did not know them. They were superstars to me. It was a huge move for me, and it was a big change in my life. It was very hard, but in the end, it was a big change in my life. In the end, it was the best thing I could have done for myself. It got me here, and I would not change that journey for the world.”