Biography

56As first female diver in the world and Canada’s first athlete to earn medals in four-straight Olympic Games, Émilie is one of this country’s most decorated Olympians of all time. Émilie excels as much in individual diving competitions as synchronized ones. Born December 14, 1981 in Brussels, Belgium, Émilie Heymans immigrated to Canada with her family the following year. Émilie first participated in gymnastics before falling in love with diving at age 11. Her climb in the sport was dazzling. In 1997, she won the World Junior Championship in Malaya. Two years later she returned from the Pan American Games with a gold medal around her neck.

In 2000, Émilie realized her childhood dream in participating in her first Olympic games in Sydney, where she won a silver medal in synchro along with Anne Montminy. Having already achieved an impressive track record, Émilie realized, in 2003, a dream year, and all the honors. She won the World Championship title in Barcelona, as well as three gold medals at the Pan American Games. These victories earned her the respect of her peers. Successively, Émilie was named Athlete of the Year at the Diving Canada Gala,the Gala Montréalais and the Gala Sport Québec. As well, she was named Sports Personality of the Year by the readers of La Presse newspaper, and was a finalist in the La Presse Excellence Gala presented by Radio Canada.

Émilie experienced an unforgettable moment at the Athens’s 2004 Olympic Games, where she and her friend and partner, Blythe Hartley, won a bronze medal, Canada’s first Olympic medal of those games. The post-Olympic year was one of many changes. Émilie left the CAMO aquatic club, where she had trained since her career started, to begin a new collaboration with Coach Yihua Li of the Pointe-Claire Diving Club.

In 2006, she won gold at the Canada Cup, and bronze at the Commonwealth Games and the FINA World Cup. The harvest was equally impressive the following year: 14th national 10m tower title, 3rd in the Grand Prix Series final ranking and 3rd at the first edition of the World Series of Diving. Along with her synchro partner, Marie-Eve Marleau, Émilie won gold at the Italian Grand Prix and the Pan American Games,as well as silver at the FINA orld Series.

In 2008,Émilie stood on the podium on five occasions in seven international competitions. These results gave her a lot of confidence going into the Beijing Olympic Games, where she collected her first Olympic 10m tower individual medal, edging in between two Chinese divers to win silver. Then, to give her career a fresh breath, Émilie made the decision to leave the tower and take on the challenge of the 3m springboard.186

In 2009, in Rome, Italy,at the World Championships, no one expected Émilie to be among the favorites. After only a few months of training, she succeeded in making the podium in the 3m springboard. A typical Émilie performance: Pure and solid.

In 2010, Émilie began a new collaboration with Jennifer Abel, a perfect pairing! 2010 achievements included a gold medal in the 3m at the Commonwealth Games as well as at the National Senior Winter Championships, a bronze medal at the FINA World Cup and a silver at the FINA World Series. In addition, Émilie added another two individual medals.

In 2011 at the World Championships in Shanghai,Emilie won silver with partner Jennifer Abel, in the 3m synchro event. Both friends renewed the result in 2012 at the Fina World Cup

At the 2012 Olympics, Émilie became the first Canadian Summer Olympian and the first female diver in the world to win a medal in four straight Olympics, winning a bronze medal in 3m synchronized diving, along with partner Jennifer Abel. With a degree in fashion marketing, the quadruple Olympic medalist is working on developing her own line of swimwear.