Sport: Olympic 3m Springboard Diver for Jamaica
How did you get to compete for Jamaica?
I started representing Jamaica in 2012, because my Dad is Jamaican. I had some struggles throughout my junior career in terms of growing and injuries which affected my competitions, which is why the British team weren’t showing me too much support. My coaches showed a bit of faith in me and thought my Mum is Barbadian and my Dad is Jamaican, maybe I could represent one of those, because I could still make the Olympic Games if I worked hard.
What do you most love about your sport?
Going away for competitions, I get to go away reasonably often throughout the year to various countries, some that you’d never think you’d go to. My international friends that I’ve met on these competitions, I’ve got so many friends from around the world, it’s really good to see them all when I go away. In terms of actual diving, flying through the air, kind of almost out of control but with just enough control to hit the water at the right angle.
What was the experience of Rio like?
Rio was crazy, it was the best three weeks of my life. You’re kind of treated like a celebrity for three weeks. Walking round the village with all kinds of different unbelievable athletes and for that time you’re kind of on a level playing eld with them all. I was actually reasonably calm throughout all the training even though I was seeing the Olympic rings everywhere, I was quite calm. But then that first diving competition I stood on the board, looked up, saw the whole crowd and I was like “Oh my God this is the Olympic Games, this is it.”
What are your experiences of equality in sport?
For diving, it’s strange, it’s a very white dominated sport, I mean at the Olympics, there was me and another Canadian girl who were the only kind of African-Caribbean divers there. It’s strange because there are so few of us, then at the same time it’s normal, we are treated the same way, there is no favouritism for any of the other divers. It’s just if you do a good dive, you’ve done a good dive. In terms of opportunities, I think it’s all the same, it’s just not a sport that many black people and maybe Asian people, like Indian people, get into because it’s not a cultural norm for them. When I go back to Jamaica and people know I’m a diver, they’re like “ah you can even swim?” It’s not a very normal thing for my type of people to do, but hopefully what I’ve done, it will kind of open their eyes to it. In diving I don’t personally see a problem with it at all, I’ve come this far, there’s no reason why other people can’t follow.
You don’t know what goes on behind the scenes in a lot of sports, like you see the news stories about racial problems in football and other sports like that. You hear the talk about black coaches in football, there’s like two black managers in the whole of the English League, whether it’s a lack of opportunities being given to them or whether it’s just not being good enough to coach that level, who knows.