We’re less than a week away from the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics and we can’t wait to see what the athletes have in store for us. This year the Canadian athletes to watch out for are actually a group of four best friends. Roseline Filion, Jennifer Abel, Meaghan Benfeito and Pamela Ware, aka the Fab IV, have never been better and are ready to take the Olympic Games by storm. Here’s what you need to know about these divers before they hit the Olympic stage, and don’t forget to follow them on Twitter to stay up to date.
10 Things you need to know about the Fab IV
On their friendship
They truly are each other’s best friends and they never get tired of each other says Abel. She even compares their friendship to that of the Spice Girls and being in a rock band. Even though they compete against each other, they only want what’s best for their squad and outside of the pool they are truly best friends.
On their name
It’s not just Fab for fabulous; the word is actually an acronym: F for Filion, A for Abel, B for Benfeito and the Roman numeral for 4 (IV) looks like a W for Ware.
On their training
They actually train in our hometown of Montréal. They are here 6 days a week spending hours in the pool, gym and even trampoline to perfect their world-class dives. In total, they make 550 dives in a normal practice week. That’s a lot of dives!
On their role models
Emilie Heymans and Alexandre Despatie, previous gold medalists at the Olympic games, actually used to train at the same pool as Benfeito. They’re actually who inspired her to switch from competitive swimming to diving.
On their success
Together they have won so many medals its hard to keep track. Winning a combined 90 medals at the Grand Prix, 13 at the Commonwealth games, 9 World Championships medals, and 3 Olympic medals, totalling 115 career medals. They say that when one of them wins, it’s a win for the entire team.
Photo credit Ian MacNicol
On their downfalls
Benfeito said that diving is scary, so “it doesn’t matter if you are flat or if you miss a dive. You move on, you go back up and that’s how I was brought up.” They also always have each other’s backs. It’s nice knowing that they always have someone to fall back on in both their ups and downs.
On the youngest of the Fab IV
Pamela Ware might be the youngest of the IV but she is definitely not any less of an athlete. She got her start at the public pool when her father would reward her with a popsicle for doing a front dive, but a back flip would get them a trip to the local Dairy Queen for any ice cream they wanted. Now she does a reverse three and a half, and she’s the only girl that she knows to be able to pull off that dive.
On family matters
Ware wasn’t the only one to get into diving because of a family member. Abel would go to the pool with her older brother Andy and wanted to be just like him. She was in synchronized swimming but pushed herself on the diving board to show her brother, who was a diver, that she wasn’t afraid of water or heights and could be just like him.
On Girl power
They love empowering women and supporting strong women. In preparation for the games, they love listening to music by strong powerful women to pump themselves up for the long hours of training. Some of their faves are Céline Dion, Taylor Swift, and of course, the Spice Girls.
On the Olympic Games
At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Abel joined the team becoming the youngest Canadian to make the Olympic games at the age of just 16 years old. She went on to win a bronze medal in the London Games in 2012. Filion and Benfeito also won bronze medals together at the 2012 games for their synchronized 10 meter platform dive. This is Ware’s first Olympic games.
Update: Filion and Benfeito won bronze again in their synchronized 10m platform dive. Ware and Abel missed the podium in the three-metre synchro by less than a point.