Alexandre Despatie is a world class diver, but he may be even better at making the dramatic comeback. The Canadian diver is a two-time Olympic silver medalist, a three-time world champion and a champion of multiple other swim competitions. The attribute that has allowed Despatie to really rise above is his constant overcoming of physical adversity. If I stub my toes, then I usually decide that is enough reason to retreat to my bed for the day, but Despatie has persevered through near career-ending injuries.
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Alexandre Despatie faced yet another serious injury on June 12 during a diving practice in Madrid, Spain. For a short time, it looked like his dream of competing in a fourth Olympics had been destroyed. This is the diver that was barely out of a cast for a broken foot and then went on to win the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He also was close to retirement in 2011 due to bursitis and tendinitis in his hurdling knee but, after a nine month layoff, returned with even more determination. Despatie is a world-class diver, but he specializes in making the comeback.
The 27-year-old from Laval, Quebec, faced his scariest injury back in June. He was practicing his 3 and 1/2 somersault dive, but hit his head against the diving board. It caused a 10 centimeter gash near his hairline and he suffered a “minor” concussion. Reports are suggesting that Despatie and his camp have also tried to downplay the seriousness of the injury. Despatie has never dwelled on the physical obstacles he has had to endure, but rather just focused on coming back for the competition.
Despatie is near the end of his diving career, and his body has taken much abuse after close to 15 years of competition. He is coming into these games after having to stop training after two injuries in the past two years. For many divers, whacking your head on a diving board after trying to perform a complicated dive would leave behind some emotional scars. Despatie has already conquered any emotional demons on July 13 by performing the dive that injured him. He is now ready to compete at the highest level and continue his legacy as the comeback kid.
You can witness Alexandre Despatie’s comeback when he competes with teammate Reuben Ross in the 3 meter synchronized dive on August 1, and then in the individual 3 meter dive on August 10.
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(Image courtesy of NBC)