25 July, 2024
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Paris means family as diver Rousseau prepares for Games


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Cassiel Rousseau’s mum will watch him compete at an international event for the first time when the Australian star dives at the Olympics in her home city.

It will also be the first time his mother Emmanuelle visits Paris since she attended the funeral of her father Michel in 2016.

Adding to the poignancy, Michel was a track cyclist who won gold for France in the sprint at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Cassiel says Emmanuelle has never travelled outside their home state of Queensland to watch him compete.

Last year’s 10m platform world champion is in the nine-member diving team that has been confirmed for Paris.

 Cassiel Rousseau on the way to his world title in Japan last year. Image by AP PHOTO 

The team

It also features Melissa Wu, who will be the first Australian diver to compete at five Olympics.

“Coming to just watch me compete, especially the history that the family has, will be very special for her and I,” Rousseau said of his mother.

“Heading back to her home town, where she grew up, will be very nice for her to experience once again … she’ll be going with my three other siblings.”

Despite being one of Australia’s top medal hopes in Paris, and no doubt because of how special this is for him already, Rousseau is remarkably relaxed about his Olympic prospects.

“To be honest, I don’t care what I come. I’m still new to the sport, I’m still gaining experience and this will just be another experience-getter, I guess,” the 23-year-old said.

“So if I come first, you know, props to me. If I come last, it will be the same, I’m just there to get experience, have fun and enjoy it

“That’s obviously not to say if I do come last, I’m not going to be upset … but I’m just there to have fun and enjoy the experience.”

There is a method to this as Rousseau prepares for his second Olympics.

“You’ll see definitely a lot more people just cracking under the pressure, due to the fact that it is the Olympics and there is a lot more pressure for them to compete well,” he said.

“When it comes to me, because I have the mindset of ‘I don’t care’, in a way – obviously I do care – but if I come first or last, it is what it is.

“That aids me, to put the pressure off.

“The fact that mum’s there, the fact that some of the family’s there, it’s just going to be a special one …. we’ll just enjoy it.”

Rousseau, who did not defend his world title earlier this year, will compete in the 10m platform and also partner Domonic Bedggood in the 10m synchronised.

Wu overcame significant neck and knee injuries to win the national 10m platform title earlier this month and make her record fifth Olympic team.

 Record-setter Melissa Wu at Monday’s Olympic team announcement. Image by JASON O’BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS 

A two-time Olympic medallist, the 32-year-old Wu is the oldest member of the team and Ellie Cole, 17, is the youngest.

Cole will join Wu as Australia’s competitors in the 10m platform event.

Jaxon Bowshire (10m platform), Kurtis Mathews (3m springboard) and Alysha Koloi (3m springboard) will also dive at their first Olympics.

Rio Olympic bronze medallists Anabelle Smith and Maddi Keeney had their selections confirmed last month and they will partner again in the 3m springboard syncro.

This will be Smith’s fourth Olympics, while it is the second Games for Keeney and she will also dive in the 3m springboard individual event.

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