SPORTS

After head injury, Alexandre Despatie 'living in the moment' as games begin

07/28/2012 06:13 EDT | Updated 09/27/2012 05:12 EDT
LONDON - Alexandre Despatie wants to enjoy his fourth Olympic Games as if they were his first.

Six weeks after suffering a brutal head injury during practice, the 27-year-old diver from Laval, Que., said he feels lucky to be in London and just wants to enjoy the experience.

"You can ask me 100 times about my expectations, I will have no answer for you," Despatie said Saturday.

"The situation has been turned upside down for me lately so that I lost all sense of time. I just want to dive, feel good, be comfortable, and build up my confidence with the time remaining. I want to fully enjoy the Games because I'm very lucky to be here when you think about it."

Despatie hit his head on the diving board while on June 12 while training in Spain. He said Saturday that doctors told him he would have suffered a far more serious concussion if his forehead had struck the diving board a centimetre lower.

He said he deliberately didn't make all the details public because he wanted to move on from the accident as soon as possible.

"I wanted to turn the page and quickly get back to training," he said. "Even today, I have no idea what I'll do with my hair and my scar, that's the least of my worries. "

Despatie crossed a major psychological hurdle in Rome on July 13, completing the jump that caused his injury — an inward triple flip. He tried again several times without being overwhelmed by fear.

"I was scared the first time, it's not surprising," he said.

"I was very focused on what I should do. As I remember nothing of the accident, it's easy to be focused on technical movements I need to do."

Despite the setback, it would be unwise to count out Despatie, who shown he's capable of delivering great performances in difficult circumstances. If he's in top form, his opponents will have their hands full.

The key now, Despatie said, is to stay focused on his first day of competition on Aug. 2.

"This is the best way for me to prepare, the only so I can get through those games and be happy with my performance," he said.

Despatie said he's pleased to begin the competition with the three-metre synchro dive before the individual event on Aug. 6.

Note to readers: This is a corrected version. A previosu story had Despatie speaking Sunday.

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