2000 Canadian Sport Awards
ALSO ON SLAM!
Alexandre Despatie - Diving
Nominated by the Canadian Amateur Diving AssociationAlexandre Despatie of Laval, Que., Canada's Junior Male Athlete of 1998, continued to display his golden touch throughout 1999. The climax came at the World Junior Championships, where the 14-year-old sensation emerged as a double gold medallist, recording victories on the one-metre and three-metre springboards.
Competing against much older, international-calibre divers, Despatie performed consistently well on the senior circuit, with numerous top-10 Grand Prix finishes and the bronze medal on the tower at the highly competitive German Grand Prix. His successes brought an Olympic berth for Canada at the forthcoming Sydney Games, the first since 1992.
As well as scoring strongly, Despatie, who added five inches and 30 pounds to his frame during 1999, grabbed international attention for the convincing and consistent manner in which he performed. At the Winter National Diving Championships, he was ahead by such a huge margin that he had clinched the tower title before executing his final dive. In his bronze-medal-winning performance on the tower in Germany, he scored one perfect 10 and a string of 9.0s and 9.5s on his front three-and-a-half, the dive that earned him perfect marks at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, his first major international competition. At the world juniors, he once again stunned crowd and judges alike as he built up an insurmountable 41-point lead to cruise to the three-metre gold medal.
Clearly a future Olympian, Despatie, who began his sport at the age of five and trains 25 hours a week, currently holds seven of a possible eight age group records. Looking upon Sydney as a training ground, the diving sensation says that in Athens in 2004, his goal "will be for results."