DIVER Grace Reid’s choice of sport has often prompted mum Liz to cover her eyes due to nerves.
But, after finishing eighth in the 3m springboard final at her first-ever Olympic Games, the Edinburgh star believes she might have finally convinced her mum to do away with the tension.
Reid had been steadily improving as the week wore on at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre, scoring higher with the judges through the preliminaries and semi-finals to qualify for Sunday’s final.
And the likeable 20-year-old saved her best until last scoring 318.60 from the judges to round off a promising week’s work in front of her proud parents.
“It was amazing, I loved every second,” she said. “I’m kind of gutted it’s over if I’m honest.
“But I loved every second of that from the first day.
“My mum couldn’t watch when I was younger although she kind of watches now through closed eyes.
“She never liked watching me jump off the 10m platform. I was very adventurous as a child.
“I think now after that she can finally watch me. I really hope she watched that otherwise I’m going to sit her down and make her. Having them both here [father Alan was in Rio too} in the crowd was great.”
In the end, Reid’s score was 87.45 points off the total amassed by gold medallist China’s Shi Tingmao, who was the only diver to break the 400-point mark in the final with 406.05.
Shi’s team-mate He Zi, who was surprised at the post-medal ceremony by a wedding proposal by fellow Chinese diver Qin Kai, which she eventually said ‘yes’ to, was second on 387.90, with Italy’s Tania Cagnotto third on 372.80.
For Reid, however, Rio was always going to be more about the experience as she looks towards Tokyo 2020 – with another four years to work on building up her dives to trouble the leading players.
The signs are promising, though, with the diver making history earlier this year when she won mixed 3m synchro gold and individual bronze at the European Championships – the former seeing her become the first Scot to win an individual European diving medal since 1954.
Reid has also been improving her dives this season, including changing from using the tuck position for her inward dive at the Europeans to the trickier pike position in Rio.
And she admitted she is not going to be stopping there.
“I’m going to sit down at the drawing board with my coach. I’m going to enjoy this while it lasts, have a bit of a holiday and then it will be back to the hard work,” she added.
“I guess this year I’ve upped my degree of difficulty and I think the reason that’s coming off is with the confidence which comes with it.
“It’s all well and good doing the harder dives but, if you can’t do them very well, there’s no point.
“I’ve made so many changes since the start of the season so coming away with that score I can take so much away from this.
“I did envisage being in the Olympic final at the start of the season but I didn’t really think much of it.
“I knew that there was a process and I had to focus on the process and not the end result.
“But to get the end result shows that if you keep your head down and focus, the rest takes care of itself.
“As of this moment, I’m now cheerleader and proud supporter of Team GB in Rio.”
After the excitement of Sunday’s final, her mum Liz might just be glad of that.
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