Roseline Filion to dive in Rio Olympic qualifier 2 months after breaking ankle
Canada's top divers competing at World Cup in Brazil
Not even a broken ankle will keep Canadian diver Roseline Filion from competing at the FINA World Cup and Olympic Games test event this weekend in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Filion will suit up in place of teammate Meaghan Benfeito to compete in the women's 10-metre platform event — and do well enough to earn Canada an additional spot in that event at the Games.
"I can't miss that opportunity," said Filion, 28. "I really wanted that second chance to open a spot for Canada. Whatever happens I'll have no regrets, I did everything that my coach, doctor and trainers told me.
"Being able to dive here is already a big win for me."
Filion won't be in top form, but Diving Canada's technical director Mitch Gellar expects her to do well.
"She still gets pain in her foot, she doesn't have full mobility, but also she hasn't had enough time in the water," he said. "We expect consistency from her, but not the highest level of precision and certainly not the level of strength and power that she shows when she's at her peak."
CBC Sports diving analyst Blythe Hartley expects Filion's return to help Canada's chances in securing another Olympic spot.
"It was an unfortunate incident especially being in the Olympic year," said Hartley. "In the past couple years, [Roseline's been] in the best shape of her life, and incredibly focused and disciplined in her training so that's obviously been very beneficial to her recovery.
"I think having her in the event is really instrumental and definitely increases the odds in qualifying that second spot."
Allo piscine olympique! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rio2016?src=hash">#Rio2016</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RioDeJaneiro?src=hash">#RioDeJaneiro</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/testevent?src=hash">#testevent</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WorldCup?src=hash">#WorldCup</a> 🇧🇷 <a href="https://t.co/30devveVkU">pic.twitter.com/30devveVkU</a>—@Roselinefilion
Filion broke her ankle Dec. 17 at a training session in Saskatoon.
With Filion in this weekend, her teammate and synchro partner Benfeito is out. The 26-year-old secured Canada's first spot in the 10-metre event in July, and can't re-qualify her nation another spot.
"Meaghan has agreed to step aside, she fully understands what the strategy is," said Geller. "She's been in all kinds of major Games already, and the fact that she's here, that she's training in the environment, that she sees all the competitors is still very good for her Olympic preparation."
I can now focus on the small things that are left to correct.- Meaghan Benfeito , diver
The upside for Benfeito is the return of her partner in synchronized diving. She and Filion have already qualified Canada for the 10-metre synchro event.
"It means that Roseline is ready, that she's back up on 10-metre and that we can start doing synchro soon, which is very exciting," Benfeito said of Filion's return.
"I can now focus on the small things that are left to correct before the Games and try to win a medal."
Abel and Ware
Star divers Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware will also compete this weekend, in the individual and synchro three-metre events.
"I anticipate [Abel] to do very well, I expect her to be on the podium," said Hartley. "I think the thing for [Abel] is just the consistency. When she lands on her head and she's consistent in her dives she's really tough to beat and she'll certainly challenge the Chinese."
Abel will also be competing alongside synchro partner Pamela Ware. The two have already qualified Canada for the Summer Games in both the individual and synchro 3-metre event, which changes at the World Cup.
"Getting familiar with the facilities, competing against the worlds best, building the confidence, getting really clear on what you need to refine going into the Olympic Games," said Hartley. "That's the objective for Pamela and Jennifer at this event because they've already qualified the spot."
Celina Toth will also compete in the women's 10-metre event.
Watch Canadian divers compete this weekend at cbcsports.ca:
Friday, Feb 19:
- Men's three-metre synchro final: 4:55 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, Feb. 20:
- Women's three-metre synchro final: 4:55 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, Feb. 21:
- Women's 10-metre semifinal: 12:55 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. ET
- Men's 10-metre synchro final: 3:40 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. ET
- Women's 10-metre final: 5:55 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Feb. 23:
- Women's 3-metre semifinal: 1:55 p.m. ET
- Women's 3-metre final: 4:40 p.m. ET
- An earlier version of this story said Filion had a broken foot.Feb 19, 2016 11:25 AM ET
With files from Diving Canada