This two time World Champion and Olympic medalist diver is on track to achieve her dream of Olympic Gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. What sets her apart from the rest?

You've been extremely successful in your sport and have achieved what many people only dream of. What is it that pushes you to excel and win?
(She laughs) I feel incredibly fortunate with the accomplishments that I've had and I also feel incredibly lucky that I have a talent. I try to acknowledge that talent throughout my training and mental preparation. I'm constantly making goals and striving to achieve the best at everything I do. Every goal I make I reassess and set new goals. I have a desire to constantly improve.

How did you originally get into the sport? How has it influenced the person you are today?
As a child my parents encouraged participation in a variety of sports but I really liked both competitive swimming and gymnastics so my parents encouraged me to combine the two and try diving. Diving now influences every aspect of my life. I am the person I am today because of the sport and the positive influences it has had on me growing up. Sport has opened so many doors for me and allowed more options for me, such as living in a different country for a while and moving to different cities for training. I don't believe I would have obtained these options as easily without being involved in sport. I really believe the best avenue to learn the life skills of perserverance and goal setting is directly through involvement in sport.

What do you like about training at Talisman Centre?
I absolutely love it! One of the friendliest, most accommodating facilities I've ever trained in. When you train five to six hours a day and walk in the door and staff know your name and greet you, it just makes your day. I've had some great opportunities through competitions and training in other cities, but honestly, you can't compare. This place really stands above the rest. this sport?

As many people are now working on New Years Resolutions and developing goals, how do you go about goal setting and do you make modifications to those goals as you go through the training process?
In terms of developing goals I think the best thing is to sit down, ask yourself what you want and what you are willing to do to get to that goal - then stay the course. That's really what I have done throughout my career to achieve success. Modifications may happen along the way, but it's important that when you set a goal you stick to it. Most of my goals are more long term goals than short term so I'm looking at the big picture and what steps I need to take to get to those goals.

What are your new years resolutions?
I think this year my big focus will be on staying in contact more with close friends and family throughout the year. Sometimes I am so focused on a goal that I forget this important priority.

What would you tell parents of kids aspiring to get into the sport of diving?
The sport is fantastic! I love to see kids involved. You can watch them face their fears and overcome them. I would encourage parents to get their kids involved in a variety of sports first and let their kids determine which sport they feel passionate about. The sport of diving is not for everyone but I think you have to discover that for yourself. Don't let anyone discourage you from trying.

What would you tell kids who decide they want to pursue this sport?
For the kids that are already involved in diving - I would say be dedicated, set goals, keep a very balanced life and make sure you love the sport on a daily basis. Leave the pool at the pool. Making the Olympics doesn't happen overnight and such a long term commitment needs to be enjoyed along the way or you can easily become discouraged. I think if you can find enjoyment on a daily basis in your sport it provides longevity and keeps you motivated.

How many hours a day do you train? How many days a week?
I average about 4 to 5 hours daily, 6 days a week.

What are the next major competitions that you are training for?
I have the World Championships in March followed by the Pan Am Games in July.

How do you stay focused on such long term goals?
Each Olympic experience has been very different. The last Olympic experience, I had moved to Montreal the previous year to commit myself 100% to the sport of diving. I breathed, spoke, ate the sport for the whole year. Then came Athens and I had a successful Olympics (Bronze - 10m Synchro Diving), but I looked back and realized it wasn't the greatest year of my life. I was fearful of not living up to people's expectations. After Athens, I began to enjoy the sport again and looking forward I really want to be able to just be myself and give it my all and not worry about results. I just want to have fun with the whole experience.

What is your greatest accomplishment in your sport?
I have three but all for very different reasons. My fondest memory was qualifying for the 2000 Olympics. Winning my first world title and winning the medal in Athens are also great accomplishments for me personally but for very different reasons.

Many of Canada's amateur athletes have to balance work and personal life with their sport career in order to make ends meet - how do you do it?
I currently work with Royal Bank of Canada and the RBC Olympian program. They provide work experience, flexibility in schedules and financial support. I really believe in having a balanced life based on my experience in 2004 where I just focused on diving for the whole year. I really think it hurt me in the end. I am going to continue working, training and having a social life because that's what makes me happy and I think it will have a positive influence on my diving. I just need to make it a priority to make it happen.

What are your sport retirement plans?
This is something that all athletes struggle with. Right now I'm so focused on sport that I'm still looking at what adventure I'm going to take next. I'd love to stay in Calgary and find a job that I'm passionate about, but I'm not sure what that journey will look like quite yet.

You can see Blythe train at the dive tank at Talisman Centre from 9:00 - 12:00 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays or from 3:00 - 5:00 pm Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

 





Hours
Mon - Fri 5am - 11pm
Saturday 6am - 10pm
Sunday 7am - 10pm
Holiday hours are 7am - 10pm. No registered classes on statutory holidays.
 


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Calgary AB T2G 5B6
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