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Alexandre Despatie is a diver competing at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for Canada.

Alexandre Despatie earned a pair of bronze medals at the 2009 Worlds, and at the 2010 Commonwealth Games the Canadian diver tallied three victories. A knee injury sidelined the Montreal native for the 2011 season. In February, Despatie qualified for the 2012 Games in both 3m individual and 3m synchro during a FINA World Cup meet at the Olympic pool in London. It will be Despatie's fourth career Olympic appearance.

Despatie suffered a head laceration and concussion when he struck his head on the springboard while practicing an inward 3 ½ June 12 at a training camp in Spain. The contact was at his hairline and left him with a four-inch gash that required stitches. His status for the Games was initially in jeopardy, but he returned to the pool in late June and has since confirmed his participation.

Having won three gold medals at the 2005 World Championships in his hometown of Montreal, a fellow diver said Alexandre Despatie was "China's No. 1 enemy" entering the Beijing Olympics. Things didn't exactly play out that way at the 2008 Games, however, as Despatie finished second in the 3m springboard and fifth in the 3m springboard synchro.

In Athens, Despatie became the first Canadian man to win an Olympic diving medal with a silver in 3m springboard. He also finished fourth in 10m platform. The then 19-year-old was a fan favorite with his tousled hair, sideburns, gap-toothed smile, Montreal accent, and casual attitude — and not just among Canadians. The Greeks also cheered for him: His paternal "granny," Clara Gavaris, is from Greece.

Despatie made his Olympic debut in Sydney at age 15 and nearly made it to the medal stand. He qualified for the platform final and then placed fourth, tying the best Olympic finish ever by a Canadian man in diving. (Alfie Phillips finished fourth on springboard at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics).

Despatie had a small role in a Canadian teen film called "A vos marques, Party!" The movie was a comedy centered around a high school swimming pool, where one of the girls falls in love with the team's best swimmer. Despatie played a diver who was trained by the swim coach.

At the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona, his "back 2½ with 2½ twists" became synonymous with platform gold. Entering his final dive in third place, the 18-year-old produced the best dive of his life to win, receiving two perfect 10.0s on a dive with 3.8 degree of difficulty and a score of 107.1 points — the highest-scoring dive in history. That performance allowed him to edge Helm of Australia and Tian Liang of China, who finished second and third, respectively. The 3.8 degree of difficulty was the highest of any dive attempted at the Worlds. While six of the 12 finalists tried, none performed it as precisely as Despatie.

In his first major international competition, the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he became the youngest-ever Commonwealth Games gold medalist when he won the platform title at 13. When Despatie returned to Montreal he craved a Big Mac. A journalist mentioned it in a story, and McDonald's quickly contacted Despatie and signed him to a deal. In addition to promotional opportunities, Despatie works with Ronald McDonald Children's Charities and helps the company with scholarships and other charitable programs.

Despatie had flat feet as a toddler and had difficulty walking. His maternal grandfather Paul-Emile Renaud, an orthopedic surgeon, noticed this and performed surgery on Despatie's feet. Despatie says without the correction, he probably would never have been very good.

Despatie learned to ski before he could walk, with his parents strapping skis to his feet when he was barely a year old. He was a competitive downhill skier for several years, and notes that the speed of that sport makes it a lot scarier than diving off a 10-meter platform. When the time came to choose between skiing and diving, Despatie says he knew he wouldn't have made it to as high a level in skiing, so he chose diving. He still snowboards in his spare time.

Despatie first started diving at age 5 in his backyard, then started training at the Club Aquatique de Montreal (CAMO), where 1996 springboard bronze medalist Annie Pelletier trained. Michel Larouche, who started coaching him in 1997, says Despatie has more talent than any diver he has ever coached. Despatie currently trains 30 hours a week.


How tall is Alexandre Despatie? How old is Alexandre Despatie? Where does Alexandre Despatie live? Find out here.

Age: 31 years old
Birthday: June 8, 1985
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 168 lbs.
Birthplace: Montreal, Québec, Canada
Hometown: Laval, Québec, Canada
Current Residence: Montreal, Québec, Canada

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