2000 Canadian Sport Awards
ALSO ON SLAM!
Blythe Hartley - Diving
Nominated by the Canadian Amateur Diving Association1999 was an incredible year for 17-year-old diving sensation Blythe Hartley of Vancouver. With all the best diving nations on hand in the Czech Republic for the World Junior Championships last August, Hartley became Canada's first ever triple diving medallist, winning gold medals on the 1-metre springboard and the 10-metre tower and adding the bronze on the 3-metre springboard. Impressive throughout the meet, Hartley staged a spectacular comeback in her 1-metre victory, overcoming nerves to decisively out-point Swedish diver Anna Lindberg, the leader after the preliminaries.
Earlier in the season, Hartley, the Canadian champion on the tower, shone at the Pan American Games. In only her second major international event, she won the silver medal on the tower and the bronze on the 3-metre springboard. The young Canadian was up against tough competition in the springboard event, including the eventual gold medallist, fellow Canadian Eryn Bulmer of Edmonton. Hartley didn't disappoint as she edged the strong American diver, Jennifer Lingamfelter, to take third place. Her success was especially sweet because she overcame her nervous reaction to the wildly cheering home crowd. The cheering, she said at the time, was "a very cool feeling, but it also made me a little bit nervous. Oe It was really neat competing in front of all those people."
Of Hartley's Pan Am performance on the tower, national coach Mitch Geller says she "destroyed the field" (except for her teammate Emilie Heymans of Greenfield Park, Que., who won gold). "Acrobatic and powerful, she exemplifies the phenomenal athlete as she attacks her dives. The judges didn't know her, and she just grabbed their attention with her performance, not missing a thing and building up a tremendous score."
A competitive diver for only five years, the self-driven Hartley learned to cope with growing pains as she matured, and last year she re-emerged on the national scene in dynamic fashion.