Three-time world diving champion Alexandre Despatie is retiring after an illustrious career that saw him burst on to the international scene as a 13-year-old phenomenon.
”I never thought this day would ever come,” he told a news conference in Montreal on Tuesday.
”It’s not a day I thought about but after 22 years in diving, it’s time to do something else in life.”
Despatie, who began diving at home as a five-year-old, thanked all the people and organizations that helped him during his career, including trainers, the Canadian Olympic Committee and Diving Canada.
“Thank you for believing in me,” he said. “To all my friends, thank you for your understanding. To my family. mom, dad, thank you for your unconditional support.”
He said he’s going to take a break and ”and then pursue my dream to have a career in television.”
Despatie is the only diver to have won world championships in all three of the one-metre, three-metre and 10-metre events.
He captured the imagination of the diving world at the 1998 Commonwealth Games when he won gold in the 10-metre event at the age of 13.
Despatie, who turns 28 this Saturday, was also a silver medallist on the three-metre springboard at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.
Despatie has been beset by injuries over the past year or so.
He cracked his head on the diving board a few weeks before last summer’s London Olympics and was sidelined for most of the crucial run-up to the Games.
He eventually finished 11th in the three-metre springboard.
He underwent surgery to correct bursitis and tendinitis in his left knee last October. He then had additional surgery a few weeks later.