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Diving – Abel edged by 5.65 points in bronze-medal dive after clutch dive by Italy’s Tania Cagnotto

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL, August 14, 2016 – Jennifer Abel (Laval, QC) had no regrets after being just a few points short of the Olympic podium again, as Italy’s Tania Cagnotto made a terrific final dive to grab the women’s three-metre bronze medal on Sunday.

In a dramatic duel between decorated divers who were seeking their first Olympic individual medal, Cagnotto secured a medal with 372.80 points after performing an 81.00-scoring reverse 2½ somersaults midway through the final round, receiving across-the-board 9.0 marks from the judges. Abel gave her closing back 2½ somersaults her best shot, but came away with 69.00 points, which left her with 367.25. It was the highest Canadian placing since Blythe Hartley was fourth in 2008, and marked the fourth Olympics in a row where a Canadian has been in the top six.

China’s Tingmao Shi (406.05, gold) and Zi He (387.90, silver) went wire to wire in the top two spots. Pamela Ware (Greenfield Park, QC) wrapped her first Olympics by finishing seventh with 323.15 points.

I am very pleased with my dives tonight – I fought until the end,” said Abel, who was fourth, with Ware, in women’s 3m synchro last Sunday. “I know I wanted to bring two medals back to Canada. But the story behind my performance today is more important. I’m leaving Rio with a smile.

Even if I was third or fourth, what matters for me at the end is that I was able to fight,” said Abel, who finished 13th in her Olympic debut in 2008 and was sixth in 2012. “It was very hard to stay focused and not crack under the pressure, and I did not do that today. That was important for me.

The only regret I have is for synchro. I know we will be back in four years and be more experienced. So I’m not worried for our team.”

Abel had an auspicious start with 76.50 on her opening inward 2½, an 18-point improvement over her score in the semifinal on Saturday. She received 69.00 in Round 2.

Abel often makes her climb up the leaderboard during the later rounds. On her forward 3½ somersaults in the third round, she scored 72.85. Cagnotto, whose third dive was her weakest in the semifinal, kept pace with 71.30 in that round.

Risk yielded reward when Abel delivered a 79.90-scoring forward 2½ somersaults double twist for the second day in a row. Cagnotto, the European champion, stepped up and responded.

I’m extremely happy for Tania,” Abel said. “She deserved to be on the podium.”

Ware, 23, maintained her placing from the semifinal in spite of a 52.50 score on her closing forward 2½ somersaults single twist. The positive notes included a 12-point improvement over Saturday with a 66.65-scoring forward 3½ somersaults in the second round. Ware also came away with a beaming smile after delivering her best dive of the day with a 73.50-scoring reverse 2½ in the fourth round.

My goal here is accomplished,” Ware said. “I woke up this morning with a smile on my face and I’m still smiling right now. I could not ask for more.

I had fun today and I’m especially proud of my fourth dive.”

Sunday was the third time in four Olympics that Canada had two women’s 3m finalists.

The men’s 3m preliminaries begin at 2:15 p.m. EDT on Monday. Eighteen-year-old Philippe Gagné (Montreal, QC) will make his Olympic debut. Gagné is 22nd of 29 competitors in the dive order.

Complete results: