Olympic medalist (and new mother) Jennifer Abel’s recommendation for folks: help, help, help – Staff Canada

Leah Hennel / COC

Jennifer Abel has beloved diving ever since she noticed her brother Andy leaping up and down on the springboard.

“I instructed my mother, ‘That is precisely what I need to do,'” recollects Abel.

Abel would go on to compete in 4 Olympic Video games and earn two medals on the springboard, however she began out as one of many native pool ladies in Laval, Quebec.

Abel’s dad and mom, Sylvie Danis and Jacques-André Abel, firmly believed that their kids ought to be taught to swim at a younger age, for security causes. Abel was enrolled in swimming and inventive swimming classes when she was paralyzed by the sight of her older brother hovering off the board.

“I used to be interested in the whole lot associated to diving,” says Abel. “It takes power and suppleness in each muscle you may have. I really like the adrenaline rush and the sensation of being free within the air. “

Jennifer Abel of Canada competes within the ladies’s 3-meter springboard finals on the Pan American Video games in Lima 2019 on August 5, 2019. Photograph by Vincent Ethier / COC

A household help platform

Abel’s enthusiasm for the game was evident, with one complication: his dad and mom knew nothing about diving. Nonetheless, they jumped into the sport immediately. Though they could not prepare their daughter on the technical particulars, they have been in a position to present help and steerage on the psychological facet of the game.

“Once I was younger and confronted a troublesome dive, my mother instructed me to consider my favourite cartoon character, Mickey Mouse,” recollects Abel. “She stated she pictured him sporting the identical bathing go well with as I did, whereas she did the identical actions – and the visualization eased my nervousness.”

Abel additionally remembers a time when her father’s unconditional help helped her persevere with a very high-risk dive.

“In a contest, my head acquired so near the board that I felt my hair contact it,” describes Abel. Utterly distraught, she was reluctant to attend rehearsals the following day. Her father accompanied her to the pool and remained within the stands as she tried the dive once more. “I nonetheless keep in mind how I felt that day, understanding that no matter occurs, he was there,” says Abel. “I felt supported, however above all I felt secure”.

Jennifer Abel and Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu smile with their medals
Canadian divers Melissa Citrini Beaulieu, left, and Jennifer Abel win silver within the ladies’s 3m synchronized springboard through the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Video games on Sunday 25 July 2021. Photograph by Mark Blinch / COC

When Abel’s brother switched from diving to baseball, the household’s schedule acquired much more intense. His dad and mom have been continually operating between the pool and the baseball discipline, however in some way they all the time managed to make it work. “The very best recommendation I may give to folks who need their youngsters to play a sport, any sport, is to be there to help them each single day,” says Abel.

Guardian help can take many types, resembling being a coach, coach, chauffeur, supervisor, photographer, or only a devoted cheerleader. That unwavering help is very necessary on troublesome days. “All of us need to be one of the best, however typically we’re not,” says Abel. “When that occurs, it is necessary to remind kids that sport must be enjoyable. If that they had enjoyable and gave their greatest that day, that is what counts ”.

Parenting objectives

Now retired from competitions, 30-year-old Abel has launched herself into a brand new position: motherhood. She and fiance David Lemieux welcomed son Xander in Could and Abel says they intend to show him to a variety of sports activities and actions.

“Completely, we’ll put our son into sports activities, however he’ll select his personal path,” says Abel. “We do not need him to really feel pressured as a result of he has a world champion dad in boxing and an Olympic medalist mother in diving. He’ll play open air and check out completely different sports activities, and in the long run he’ll determine the course of him. “

And, if Xander’s favourite sport is not diving, Abel says it is okay for her.

“If he is making the selection and doing what he desires, he’ll put in additional vitality and high quality time.”

This text was produced by Lively for Life, a Canadian non-profit social initiative created to assist dad and mom give their kids the precise begin in life by the event of bodily literacy. The Canadian Olympic Committee has been an Lively for Life supporter since 2012. You will discover extra articles that includes Staff Canada athletes on the Lively for Life web site, together with Patrick Chan, Daoust melodies, Carol Huynh, Marco Nichols, Mirela RahnevaAnd Neville Wright through which they share their recommendation for folks on kids’s participation in sports activities.

Listed here are some suggestions from Jennifer Abel’s story:

Kids will naturally gravitate in direction of a sport that fits their character, so hold an open thoughts as you assist your youngster uncover his or her ardour. Listed here are some concepts for exposing your youngsters to a wide range of actions:

  • Attempt all of it. Register them for a multi-sport summer time camp to get a pattern of various actions and entry an assortment of sports activities tools.
  • Take it out. Through the summer time, make an effort to cut back display time and substitute it with unstructured out of doors video games. Who is aware of, they may find yourself inventing their very own sport!
  • Get entangled. At college, encourage them to affix intramural, sports activities groups, and energetic golf equipment.
  • Search for peer position fashions. Take your youngster to observe a buddy, neighbor, or cousin within the sport or exercise of his or her selection.
  • Assume exterior the field. Conventional sports activities resembling hockey and soccer are perfect for some kids, however your youngster could also be appropriate for a much less “conventional” staff sport, or maybe a person one.
  • Tune in to the Olympics. If one of many sports activities catches your kid’s curiosity, attempt making a model tailored to the park or backyard. Or, go to an area membership to ask if they provide a free “trial” session.

One factor is definite: if, like Jennifer Abel, your son pulls your sleeve and says “I need to attempt it”, do your greatest to be receptive and check out it! You by no means know the place the journey may take you.

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