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CBC Sports Oral Histories: How a 13-Year-Old Canadian Won Gold at the Historic Commonwealth Games

Bulmer Barrett: He was just very carefree. You couldn’t tell if he was nervous. And if that was just his cool, calm, collected manner that carried him through the rest of his career, I don’t know. Or if it was just forgotten because he was young and this is like the first multisport games.

Christiane: This word “games” takes you to another level of emotion when you get there, nervousness. When you get there, you have to adapt. You have to stay calm. You still have to do what you’re supposed to do when you dive and you have to focus. You must take care of yourself. You take care of your head, your body, everything.

Alex: I was in first place, so I didn’t even think about it. I just thought, ‘Oh, I get to dive again. Big!’

geller: I don’t know he was fighting for gold in there. He was just thrilled to do every single dive as if it was just the sheer joy he was exhibiting in the competition and the fact he was just so excited to be a part of it. It was contagious.

Alex: It was night [and] The venue was not entirely outdoors. It had a roof but as everything else was open the crowd went crazy. There are tons and tons of people. And when it started, I didn’t look back.

Christiane: We said, ‘Okay, let’s hope for the best.’ We should have some news in a moment how things are going well, he made it to semifinals, finals. Nothing. We had nothing.

Bulmer Barrett: Though still a small teenager, he stood at the top of this tower like a big, strong, powerful, commanding man.

Alex: Everything fitted like straight from the first dive which was tough and had a few small bugs here and there.

geller: When he did his front three-and-a-half, I think he got a 10 on something very close and he turned to the camera and said, “This is for you mom” or “I love you, mom or something. That was just so adorable.

Alex: I think that was my first ever perfect score. The camera follows you after each dive. And that was all new to me too, but I didn’t really pay attention to it except when I got that perfect 10.

Bulmer Barrett: Not only was he consistent but he was spectacular on some if not all of his jumps, he just disappeared into the water, not a splash. The whole [crowd] Watching him I felt erupted with more and more excitement and energy as the competition progressed because what he was doing made everyone aware of how young he was and how historic it would be if he won this event the youngest athlete to ever win a title at the Commonwealth Games.

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