Videos: Sylvie Bernier, Diving

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I started diving when I was seven years old because I had health problems. I had severe asthma and the doctor that was treating me at the time was, really told my parents that I should do lots of physical activities every day if possible, and that’s really how I started diving.

I knew that I wanted to go to the Olympics, I knew that I wanted to be on the podium, I knew that I could do it. I was convinced that I had the potential and that I had, the talent and the motivation to train like 30-35 hours a week to do it. And every competition was important for me. So it was the Commonwealth Games, the Pan American Games, the FINA World Cup, the Universiade, all these competitions were kind of a training always towards my main goal which was the Olympic Games.

1984 was an amazing year for me. I started diving only in January. Usually you start your training program in September-October, but my coach and I decided that we would do lots of dry land exercises, lots of lots of exercises to be really strong. And so exercised on the floor like a gymnast.

When I started diving in January, I knew that there was only eight months left. I knew I was going to retire right after the Olympic Games. I had planned to go back to university and I knew that every single day was important. Every single workout was really important. So I used to be really focused. When I came out of the pool after my last dive and I smiled and I waved at the crowd, I looked at the scoreboard and I started running. I didn’t know I was winning. I had no idea I was winning because I was always listening to my Walkman. And the crowd knew and , the viewers knew but I had no idea I was winning. So when I look at myself coming out of the pool after this last dive I say, I was so happy. I was so satisfied with what I had done that I could have been fifth, could have been tenth, I didn’t know, I had no idea. But I was just very proud of what I had done. So my Gold medal was there when I came out of that pool and when I waved at my parents actually who were standing right in front of me.

So many things happened after the Games in 1984. My life went upside down, I mean from one day to the other, and a couple of weeks later or at the end of the year actually when they called me and told me that I had the Outstanding Female of the Year Award, of course I was honoured to be part of this group of women that have won this award.

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