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Thursday, September 28, 2000

Silver soothes scars

 SYDNEY -- When Canadian diver Anne Montminy won bronze in the individual 10-metre platform on Sunday, she was bummed out.

 She knew she could've done better.

 But the 25-year-old future lawyer from Pointe-Claire, Que., teamed up with 18-year-old Emilie Heymans and rebounded to win a silver medal for Canada in the 10-metre synchronized diving event at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre.

 UPGRADE

 And she couldn't have felt more happy about the effort.

 So did this nice little medal upgrade take a bit of the tarnish off Sunday's bronze?

 "No, not at all," smiled Montminy. "I'm still disappointed at that result (Sunday). This is just different."

 And you really can't blame her for feeling that way.

 The 25-year-old worked her whole life at the individual 10-metre platform.

 It was the most important thing.

 She practised twice a week for a month-and-a-half with Heymans in the synchro, and finished higher.

 Forgive her for feeling like the woman in the beauty pageant who gets the gift certificate for winning Miss Congeniality.

 This silver medal was a bonus prize.

 "We're both very good individual divers, and that's half the marks," said Montminy. "I think, if I won gold on Sunday, it would've been really hard to refocus for this.

 "But because I wanted to make up for what happened, this is nice.

 "I think the second-place finish was well-earned."

 Well-earned, because they didn't really know what to expect.

 "Before this competition, I would've said we could've finished anywhere from eighth to first," said Montminy, who will now work toward her goal of a career in law and will decide in the next few weeks whether she wants to continue diving. "But really, there was no way we were going to beat the Chinese, they were physically better than us."

 And physically similar.

 One of the funnier features of the Canadian pair was how different they looked together.

 SUPPOSED TO BE TWINS

 Montminy is a 5-foot-3, 110-pound brunette, and Heymans is a 5-foot-7, 130-pound blond.

 If you're supposed to be twins in synchro, these two walked in as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito.

 "And when we first came in to practise this week, we were tired and both wearing different bathing suits," laughed Montminy. "It was hilarious. Everyone was kind of looking at us funny."

 Though Heymans would've traded this silver for a medal on Sunday just like Montminy wanted to upgrade hers, it was still a bit of redemption for the Greenfield Park, Que., native.

 "It's just nice to win one," said Heymans. "It's a relief."

 And for Canada, it still counts in the standings.

 Like so many of Canadian medals over the past few years, this one happened in a debut sport that will be a lot more ironed-out at the next Olympics.

 "The team that wins this four years from now is going to look a lot different than we did," laughed Montminy. "It's so new right now, you don't know what to think. It's even hard to figure out the scoring.

 "I think even the judges will be the first to admit they're not exactly sure what's happening, either."

 Now that Montminy has two medals, she has a bit of a transportation problem.

 "I've been carrying (the bronze) around in a pencil case because it's so big," she laughed. "And when I do have it out, I carry it in my pocket."

 Now, she'll have to find a place for this one.

 And even though she's still a little sour about Sunday, Montminy can take solace in one thing.

 She's going home with her pockets full.

 And not many Canadian athletes can claim that.