Olympic Diver Jennifer Abel

Look out London, here I come

At  sixteen, Jennifer Abel became one of the youngest divers to represent Canada at the Beijing Olympics.  Four years later, she is getting ready to compete again in London but was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to speak with Vervegirl.

By Joanna Whitney

Photo Credit Diving Canada

VG: How did you first get into diving?

JA: I started diving when I was four years old. My brother, who is older than me, was already a diver, and I wanted to be just like him. I won my first medal at age six, and that’s when I really fell in love with the sport. It was such a great feeling that I knew I wanted to continue diving.

VG: What was it like to be one of the youngest Canadian divers at the 2008 Olympics?
JA: The 2008 Olympics happened so fast. I was only 16 years old and was training to go to the 2012 Olympic Games (I thought I was too young for the Beijing Games). Since I was the youngest diver on the team, my teammates showed me around and gave me tips. I felt very privileged to have been a part of the Beijing Games. They helped me mature and gave me the experience I need to succeed at the London Games.VG: How often do you have to train, and what types of exercises do you have to do in order to get ready for the Olympics?
JA: I train at least four hours a day, six days a week. We have a couple different training methods to help us get ready for the Olympics. We do dry land training, which means anything outside the pool. It can be trampoline, flips on the floor, flexibility, visualization, etc. We also do weight lifting and ballet classes for our posture and balance.

VG: How does it feel to represent Canada at the 2012 Olympic Games in London?

Photo Courtesy of Alice Kohler

JA: I wouldn’t change my citizenship for anything in the world. I feel so privileged to be Canadian. Every time I travel, I’m proud of where I’m from. I can’t wait to dive in the Canadian colours at the Games. It’s truly an honour.
VG: Other than being in great physical shape, what positive impact has sports had on your life?
JA: Sports is more than just being in good shape. Diving has helped me to learn more about myself. I can make decisions on my own, I know my limits and I’m clear on my likes and dislikes. Diving has also given me the chance to make a lot of great friends both at home and abroad. I also get the opportunity to travel and experience many different cultures.

VG: What advice can you give to young people who may be interested in following in your footsteps?
JA: You can get anything in life if you work hard, believe in yourself and never give up.