Bronze brings an air of confidence to diver
Australian diving Olympic bronze medallist Maddison Keeney says her nerves on the big stage are behind her - and she wants her critics to know it.
The Kiwi-born talent is only 20 but has already endured the most ghastly of ordeals in big competitions.
A stutter and fall off the springboard cost her a medal at the 2015 world champion- ships, with the video becoming a YouTube hit. A year earlier, she baulked at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games to lose out on gold.
But as a smiling Keeney stood by the pool in Rio with an Olympic medal on debut around her neck, there was no sign of angst.
"I want to silence the critics a bit about my nerves," Keeney said after she and springboard partner Anabelle Smith secured bronze in the 3m synchro.
"I think the media just blows that a bit out of proportion. I have had lots of problems in the past, but I think I've grown a lot as a diver over the last couple of years and months, and I'm ready.
"I thought I would be way more nervous than this, but I loved every moment of being out there."
Two weeks ago, national coach Chava Sobrino named Keeney as Australia's diving X-factor.
She admitted that did touch the nerves a little. "I just try my best," she said. "I'm a bit of a nightmare sometimes at training. I'm a perfectionist in the pool - I can never settle for less than my best."
Keeney will contest the preliminary round of the individual 3m springboard on Friday.