Two diving in medal pool
By JIM KERNAGHAN -- Free Press Sports Columnist
SYDNEY -- Anne Montminy has no idea how she'll perform as a fledgling lawyer before a judge. With some luck, she won't throw up.
All she knows is she still gets so flummoxed before a panel of judges when she's diving and will again need help Sunday for the semifinals of the Olympic 10-metre diving competition.
She'll take drugs.
"Legal ones," said the Montrealer, who recently passed her bar exams. "Sleeping pills. Nytol. The Olympics are all the same but I felt a little more nervous coming into these ones. I almost vomited before diving today."
You wouldn't know it from her performance.
Montminy took third place with teammate Emilie Heymans in fourth after the five-dive competition. Two major bricks in China's great diving wall, Xue Sang and Na Li, are first and second.
"It's the first time since 1988 that we've had two women in the finals," coach Mitch Geller said.
First, the Canadians have to get through the four-dive compulsories Sunday morning. Montminy is as good as anybody in the world at them and Heymans isn't far behind. So barring something drastic, both will be in as medal possibilities .
"I'd have to crash not to be there," Montminy said. "But you sort of take the compulsories for granted so I'll be nervous, for sure."
Nerves aside, Montminy feels her preliminaries, which included two firsts, put her in a favorable position.
"It wasn't stellar but it was solid and I'm happy for that," the petite 25-year-old said. "It was consistent. I know that unless I crash I'll be in the finals.
"I guess (the nervousness) is because coming in the top three makes it just more tangible. It's very unpleasant to feel like you're going to vomit before every dive but fortunately, I perform well under those circumstances."
OK, will she require the sleeping aid? Yes.
"The trouble is, I gave some to my teammates so I'm going to see if I can get it back," she worried.
Geller said the competition opened the way he wanted.
"The big dives we were looking for were Anne's back 2 1/2 pike and Emilie's last dive. That one has a humungous degree of difficulty and I went to the judges and asked about the scoring on it (seventh among the 40 divers for that round). They felt her legs were a bit loose."
Taking on the Chinese in diving is akin to turning back a tide but the Canadians feel they have a shot.
"The Chinese are very, very good and if they're at their best they aren't going to be displaced but these are the Olympics," Geller said. "Anne has beaten them at the World Cup."