One of the most inspiring initiatives related with the Youth Olympic Games is the “Athlete Role Model” programme, in which world stars in each discipline are invited to the competition to inspire the young talents and give them useful tips on the development of their future career. In Diving, Roseline Filion is fulfilling this role with notorious pleasure. The Canadian ace is in Buenos Aires following the sport she loves, after a career that spanned for more than a decade and brought, among other achievements, two bronze medals at the Olympics. 

“For me, it’s important to give something back to the diving community, to help and advise these younger athletes so that they are able to perform at their best. The YOG is the perfect preparation for the Olympics. I realise that being here, it’s exactly like being at the Olympics: the number of people, the media attention, the Olympic rings everywhere. This helps you a lot when going to the Olympics, because then you know what to expect”, admits Filion, third at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games in the 10m platform synchro event.  “I have no doubts that some of these athletes will be at the Olympics. I have been watching the divers and I am impressed with their technical level at such young age. I look forward to seeing them growing at senior level”.

Also a 10m synchro silver medallist at the 2013 and 2015 FINA Worlds in Barcelona (ESP) and Kazan (RUS), respectively, Filion decided to conclude her career after the Rio rendezvous. “My life has completely changed since then. I am still connected to the sport, I am commenting in French for diving, I have been doing that for a while as I love being in the media world. I have also my company, related with ‘Escape Room’ games, something completely out of sport, but I like it because it’s creative and allows me to meet a lot of people. And from time to time, I come back to the pool deck and I meet my old teammates and coaches”, she confesses.

With a continental title in her pet event at the 2015 Pan-American Games, after being also first at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Canadian great wants to share her enthusiasm with the younger generation: “Looking back at my career, the best advice I could give is that they much believe in themselves and to have a voice – they must say out loud what they want, to say what they need to perform well. The other thing is that you must train hard because when you are on the top of that platform, or springboard, the only thing you don’t want to have is regret”. Asked if she had any regret throughout her trajectory, she is emphatic: “I have NO regrets at all. I remember being in Rio and thinking ‘I have done everything possible to be the best I could’ and I was proud of my process. Some things were wrong, but I was at the peak at the end of my career, and I was very proud with that”. 

With Meaghan Benfeito: a friendship for life

Competing so many years in synchro events, with her teammate Meaghan Benfeito, this has created a special link between the two divers. “Teammates are laughing a lot together, going out together. We always keep contact and I see Meaghan a lot. Yesterday, we had a Facetime call – she is in Australia training, and I am here in Buenos Aires, but we keep in touch. She is my soul sister, and synchro events allow this”, admits Filion. 

Generally speaking, she also elaborates on how sport influenced her personality and gave her precious tools for life. “The sport gave me a lot of values, such as being organised, be focused, work hard and never give up. Even if you do it wrong, you try again and you go for it. Sports definitively brings you work spirit. Sport teaches you a lot of things that you don’t get in the school. The way I work, the way I am a team player (even if diving is mostly an individual sport), all this brings people’s respect. Sport is really a good thing”, she admits.

From the list of young athletes taking part at these Youth Olympic Games, Canada is obviously present with their best talents in this age group. “It’s a sport with a lot of tradition in Canada. We had huge stars in recent years, such as Alexandre Despatie, or Emilie Heymans. We have a lot of facilities and good coaches, so we can train well. There is a big depth of talents, the young divers are looking good. We have a great environment to perform well, both at the National Federation and Olympic Committee level”, she concludes.

Meeting Chen Ruolin (CHN) in Buenos Aires