Bronze for Mia Vallée in the women’s 1m
June 29th, 2022 – Mia Vallée launched her competition in style Wednesday at the FINA World Diving Championships in Budapest. Vallée, competing at the prestigious event for the first time, won bronze in the women’s 1m springboard event, the first of three events she will be competing in in this week in Hungary.
Judges awarded Vallée a total of 276.60 points. She was edged for silver by a mere 5 one hundredths of a point by American Sarah Bacon (276.65 points).
China’s Li Yajie won gold with a 300.85-point performance. Also in action was Alberta’s Margo Erlam, who finished 9th with 246.10 points.
Vallée was able to maintain a podium spot all through the final. After her third dive, she was sitting in first place. She then conceded one spot in her penultimate dive, to finally finish third due to a small mistake on her last entry.
“I obviously would have loved to win the silver medal but in reality, I couldn’t even have imagined winning a medal today so I’m really happy”, declared 21-year-old Vallée.
Her biggest challenge today was trying to calm her nerves down.
“I was so, so stressed out this morning. I can’t even remember feeling this nervous in the last few years. I was thinking it was going to affect me and ruin my performance”, admitted Vallée, who had qualified for the final earlier in the day by finishing 9th in the preliminary round.
“During the final, I think I got even more stressed. I knew that I had a chance to medal. I also knew that given the degree of difficulty on my dive list – and because I’ve been able to do it in the past – that I could really compete. I really wanted to do well. I think I was able to calm myself down a little by telling myself that these are only my first World Championships and that I’m here to enjoy it and gain some experience. I think it worked a little”, shared Vallée.
Even if she is well aware that the pressure will not magically disappear before the end of the week, she believes her bronze medal will help her composure for the next events.
“This is my first major international competition since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. There were a lot of questions floating through my head. I was asking myself whether I deserved to be here, if I could compete with the other girls here. I think this medal proves that I belong among these athletes”, Vallée confided.
Mitch Geller, Diving Canada’s Technical Director, was Vallée’s coach poolside. He was very proud to see his charge overcome her fears and climb the podium at her first event this week.
“These are her first Worlds, this was her first ever event at Worlds, it’s a remarkable feat to win a medal. It’s a little bittersweet to have come so close to silver, for sure, but we are so proud of her result. She showed up on the board with high degree of difficulty dives and nailed them. That’s a difference maker”, Geller explained.
He also wanted to highlight Margo Erlam’s performance. Erlam was also competing in her first ever senior international event and managed to qualify for the final.
“There were 46 divers in this event. For Margo to finish in the top-12 and make the final, that’s also exceptional”, he elaborated.
There will be no Canadian divers in action on Thursday at the World Championships. Friday, Margo Erlam and Mia Vallée will once again take to the springboard in the women’s 3m.
“Today’s experience has given me confidence for the 3-meter event and it makes me a little bit less nervous. I will know better what to expect on Friday”, declared Vallée.
A detailed schedule of events is also available on the FINA website
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