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Canada’s Pamela Ware showed off a much-improved dive, paving the way for a silver medal on the last day of World Cup action in Montreal.
The two-time Olympian scored 79.50 points on her fifth and final effort for a total 365.40 to hold off American Sarah Bacon, who shone before Ware’s performance en route to bronze 357.85 points. Chen Yiwen of China posted a winning score of 404.70.
“Often my last dive isn’t as good because I want to do so well that I hold back … But I just said, ‘You know what, go for it, you can do it,”‘ Ware said to The Canadian Press. “When I heard the crowd when I came out of the pool, it was just so loud and I got chills and I just started crying.”
After two dives, Ware was tied for third with Sayaka Mikami, behind Yiwen and Bacon
On her third, the native of Greenfield Park, Que., was set to perform inward 2 ½ somersaults with a 3.0 degree of difficulty. At one time, it was Ware’s most difficult dive, but she has made big gains in training.
The 30-year-old’s hard work paid off as she demonstrated excellent pike position and scored 72 points on the dive to move to silver medal position ahead of Yani Chang in third and fourth-place Bacon.
Ware fed off the energy of the hometown crowd at Olympic Park Sports Centre on her last dive, scoring 79.50 for a forward 2 ½ somersaults with a twist. Seconds later, tears of joy flowed down her cheeks while she received several congratulatory hugs.
The weekend competition was the first major event for Ware since the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, where she was forced to pull up from a dive after making a mistake in the semifinals and spent a year working on the mental side of the sport.
By the time she returned to diving, she had new training, new coaching, and the dive she unsuccessfully performed in Tokyo was no longer part of her lineup.
“I know there were a lot of people who doubted me because of what happened in Tokyo, but I worked so hard [to get back],” said Ware. “I think I showed this weekend that I have returned, and I’m here to stay.”
Aaron Dziver, a Canadian team coach who worked with Ware through the Tokyo Games and is now the technical director at the Canadian Diving Institute in Montreal, gives her credit for coming back at her own pace and using her mistake as motivation.
“With experience, and even with the shortcomings we face as an athlete, you can look it as a defeat or look at what happened and become stronger,” he said. “The performance here today, as well as [Saturday] gives Pamela even more motivation to be here again, again and again.
“She’s shown to everyone and all her competitors that she’s here. She’s here for the [July 14-30] world championships coming up in Fukuoka [Japan], and the Olympics in Paris.”
The 22-year-old Vallée was ninth (296.00) in a field of 12 on Sunday, several months after the Beaconsfield, Que., native broke through with two medals at world championships. In Budapest, Hungary, she became the first Canadian woman to collect multiple medals when the springboard specialist took bronze in the 1-metre and silver in the 3m.