Abel, Ware miss Olympic diving podium by less than 1 point

A medal favourite entering the Rio Olympics, Canadian divers Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware finished fourth in the women's 3-metre synchronized event on Sunday.

Canada finishes 4th, fails to duplicate bronze finish from 2012 London Games

Jennifer Abel, right, consoles Pamela Ware after their dive fell short of the podium in the women's 3-metre synchronized event on Sunday. (Kevin Light/CBC Sports)

By Doug Harrison, CBC Sports

A medal favourite entering the Rio Olympics, Canadian divers Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware finished fourth in the women's 3-metre synchronized event on Sunday.

Tingmao Shi and Minxia Wu of China won gold at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre with 345.60 points, followed by Italy's Tania Cagnotto and Francesca Dallapé (313.83) and Australia's Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith (299.19).

As the scores were posted on the board, Abel dunked her head under the water while Ware bowed hers in disappointment.

Sitting third entering their fifth and final dive, Abel and Ware executed a forward 2 1/2 somersault with one twist well but probably lost some points when Abel leaned too far off the springboard, scoring just 7.0 points for execution and 7.5 for synchronization.

"I can't lie, I'm very disappointed," Abel told CBC Sports after the final. "Obviously it's my mistake on my last dive and that cost us our medal."

It was a disappointing result for the Canadians, who had reached the podium in each of the last two world championships, including a silver in 2015.

Abel, 24, was attempting to become a double Olympic medallist after winning bronze with Emilie Heymans at London in 2012. Heymans retired a month later, opening a spot for Ware, who went on to win silver with her new partner at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.

The 23-year-old from Greenfield Park, Que., was making her Olympic debut and perhaps showed some nerves on the opening inward dive in the pike position when she ended up further back than Abel from the springboard and the Canadians were seventh of eight teams.

"We're very disappointed with how it finished today, but I'm confident in us, I'm confident in our team and I'm really excited for the next four years to come to be by her side at the next Olympics," Ware said.

They appeared to have any nerves under control, showing nice extension from the springboard on their reverse dive that vaulted them to fifth spot.

Abel and Ware followed with a strongly executed and timed back 2 1/2 somersault pike, their favourite dive, in which they spun at the right time and showed little splash in the water. A solid effort on the forward 3 1/2 somersault, which grades a 3.1 on the degree of difficulty, moved them into medal position, thanks in part to a poor round by Great Britain's Alicia Blagg and Rebecca Gallantree and the Italians.

Sirens were heard going off during the event. While it did not appear to distract the divers, fans voiced their displeasure on social media.

Next up for Abel of Laval, Que., and Ware is the individual 3-metre springboard, with the preliminary round scheduled for Aug. 12 at 2:30 p.m. ET. The semifinals are Aug. 13 and finals on Aug. 14, both at 3 p.m.

"If I win a medal, I want it to come from the hard work I've done the last four years," she said before the Rio Games. "My goal is to reach my full potential and then we'll see about the results."

Ware is confident she can improve upon her previous best Olympic result in the individual event, sixth place at the 2012 Games.

She finished the season tied for second overall with Keeney and behind Shi.

"My performances have been consistent," Abel said. "I just have to work on some small technical details and I'll be ready."

Abel and Ware are half of the "Fab IV" on Canada's diving team. Abel, Ware, Roseline Filion and Meaghan Benfeito all have medal potential in Rio.

"Fab" is an acronym — F for Filion, A for Abel, B for Benfeito, and the Roman numeral IV is a stylized W for Ware.

Filion and Benfeito compete on the 10-metre tower.

With files from The Canadian Press


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