Canada's Fab IV diving team Image by: Vincent Graton
Roseline Filion, Meaghan Benfeito, Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware on prepping for the world's most prestigious athletic competition.
The last time we caught up with Canada's FAB IV diving team—partners Roseline Filion and Meaghan Benfeito (10m synchro and individual platform) and partners Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware (3m synchro and individual springboard)—they were prepping for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. That year, they went on to win a combined 6 medals—two golds, three silvers and one bronze—and have since clinched spots competing at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
We visited the athletes, who are new brand ambassadors for the Gillette Venus Swirl razor (The connection? The razor's trademarked flexiball technology allows it to "move like no other," in the same way that the divers twist and turn like no one else) at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre where they were busy doing interviews, taking photos and munching on fruit and cheese.
Here's what the women had to say about Olympic prep, the Zika virus and getting that Canadian flag to fly at the end of each competition.
'We've prepared for four years to be ready for the Olympics," says Jennifer. "You can't arrive six months before and train. You won't be prepared. You won't have the experience that you need to arrive at the Olympics and be ready for it."
"We train between 9:30 and 4 from Monday to Friday," says Pamela. "And we have two weight sessions in that time. Weekends off."
On overcoming exhaustion
"There are definitely days that are harder than others," says Roseline. "There are days that you don't want to put in the effort or you don't want to listen to what your coach has to say. But those moments where you give yourself a kick in the butt are going to make a difference when you get tired at a competition and have to push yourself. When you don't want to put in the effort, somebody else will."
"I think the more stable your diet is, the easier it is," says Jennifer. "For us, it's important to be stable the whole year, but it's okay to cheat too and have something that you know you're not supposed to eat—like burgers, hot dogs and pizza."
On downtime in Rio
"We've been to Rio twice before," says Roseline. "We did all the tourist things. Now we're going to the Olympics to compete—to stay focused and to train. We're going to live the Olympics and do our best there so we won't have any distractions. We'll have some downtime at one point—maybe one day to chill—but really the focus is about the competition and nothing else."
"I also think it's important to also try to detach yourself," adds Meaghan. "Not to necessarily go and do the tourist stuff, but spend time with our families or go to the Canada House and not focus on the performance. You need that moment to not think of diving."
On the Zika virus
"We've been to Rio, prime summer with the heat and everything and we were fine," says Roseline. "I think it's going to be even better in August. It's the winter, so there are fewer bugs and mosquitoes. We're going down with no worries at all."
On being Canadian
"No matter how good or how bad we compete, Canadians are always there to cheer for us and support us," says Meaghan. "Everyone in Canada loves sports, no matter what they are, and that's what makes me want to compete for Canada. We work so hard for the flag to be going up when we're on the podium."
On the future
"As an athlete, you can't only think about tomorrow," says Jennifer. "You have to plan for the next year. Every year, you're already thinking about next year. Also, we have to think about the time afterward. It's important for us to go back to school or do something else, because after diving, what are we going to do?"
"I plan to finish my degree," says Roseline. "I'm writing for a blog, ballecourbe.ca, back at home, so I'm getting a little bit of media experience. And I'm going to open a business after the Olympics with my family members. It's going to be exciting. More to come."