BRONZE: Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith.
BRONZE: Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith. Clive Rose

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.


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