Cool head wins Comm Games medal for SamDoug Conway
Sam Fricker managed to control his passionate, competitive nature and secure a coveted bronze medal with a high-stakes final dive at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The 20-year-old Trinitarian admits he can become super excited in the heat of battle, and he was quick to praise his synchronised diving partner, the “super chilled” Chinese-born Australian Shixin Li, for keeping him calm at the crucial moment.
Their window of opportunity came near the end of the 3m synchronised springboard event when their Malaysian opponents clipped the board on the fifth of six dives.
They seized their big chance with a clutch effort on their final dive, their most difficult of the competition, to record their highest score and cling on to third spot.
They scored 75.48 points for a forward two and a half somersaults with two twists.
Competing together for the first time on the international stage, that final effort helped them to amass 374.52 points and win the bronze medal behind runaway winners Jack Laugher and Anthony Harding of England (438.33), and a second Malaysian pair (376.74).
Fricker (Class of 2020) revealed later the veteran Li had a quiet word with him after the Malaysian mistake, saying: “In competition, anything can happen; be patient, relax.”
“I worry he gets too excited,” said Li, 34, who had already won silver in Thursday’s one-metre springboard.
Li, who retired in 2014 but was lured back to compete for Australia at last year’s Olympics, added: “You need to find a balance and he did very well on the last dive. It was very difficult.”
Fricker said: “He was like ‘stay calm … hold it together and execute’.
“You’ve got to calm me down; I get fired up. He’s the coolest man ever, super chilled, very relaxed and pulls me into his bubble.”
Fricker said he was “humbled and excited and really happy for Australia and Shixin”.
His bronze medal doubtless will add to his mass following of over a million people on Tik Tok.