A very special gold medal for Olivier Gauthier
Montréal, July 12, 2023 – Wednesday’s Group A 1-metre springboard final concluded with a tense battle for gold between Alberta’s Ernest Braitenbach (Calgary) and Quebec’s Olivier Gauthier (CAMO), who had come out of the qualification rounds in first and second place, respectively.
In the end, Gauthier, who succeeded in maintaining a slim lead over his rival throughout the final, prevailed with a score of 494.45.
“I’m very, very happy. I really enjoyed myself today (Wednesday), and I think that’s what made the difference. I stayed focused on the present. I wanted to enjoy the event and have fun with my friends,” explained Gauthier, following his win.
Braitenbach won silver with 479.75 points, and Loic Tremblay (ARO) won bronze with 471.30.
For Gauthier, it was his last chance to win a national title as a junior, as he will move up to the senior level next year. It was a chance he did not want to waste.
“It was my last chance to win a gold medal as a junior. I felt a bit weird as I did my final dive, but I’m happy it all ended well. It’s a pretty special medal,” he added.
Last year, Arnaud Corbeil won bronze in the platform event at the Montréal Junior National Festival. This year, the Québécois bested himself, capturing the gold medal in the Group B platform competition on Wednesday at Parc Jean-Drapeau, with a score of 451.10 points.
“I can tell that I’ve really improved since last year, when I finished third. I’m really happy with my result, and it makes me optimistic about the future,” he said.
Corbeil had finished second behind Jackson Congdon (Boardworks) in the preliminary rounds. However, the 15-year-old leveraged what he considered to be a tough qualifying round to give his all in the final.
“I would really have liked to do better in the qualifiers. My results weren’t good, and nothing went the way I expected. So I wanted to give it my all in the final and make a strong comeback.”
Corbeil will be back in action on Friday in the 3-metre springboard event, where he hopes to perform as brilliantly as he did last year, when he won gold in the same event.
In today’s final, Congdon finished second with 447.70 points, and Claude-Olivier Lisé-Coderre (CAMO) finished third with 430.25.
After securing top honours on Monday in the Group B platform event, Lila Stewart (Regina) was back at the summit of the podium on Wednesday in the 3-metre springboard event, clinching her second gold medal in as many competitions at the Montréal Junior National Festival.
Stewart, who was first in the qualification rounds, left no doubt as to her intentions as she earned a total of 450.70 points in the final, including a score of 63.00 on her second dive.
“Once again, I feel great. I’m always happy to win a medal, but this one is even more special because it’s a national gold medal. I stayed in first place throughout the entire competition, and I focused on each of my dives. That’s really what made the difference,” said Stewart, following her win.
Stewart was accompanied on the podium by Amélie Bayol (CAMO) and Aidyn Pankiw-Brennan (ESPDC), who both won silver medals. Daria Chambers (Forest City) won bronze.
Stewart will be back in action on Thursday in the Group B 1-metre springboard event, where she hopes to complete a gold medal hat trick.
“When I arrived at the competition in Montréal, I wanted to win all my events. I’ve won two gold medals so far, and I’d love to finish with another one in the 1-metre event tomorrow (Thursday),” she concluded.
The Junior National Festival will continue on Thursday at Parc Jean-Drapeau with three girls’ finals: Group D 3-metre, Group B 1-metre and Group A platform.
For the complete schedule or to view the competition, click here.
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