Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware have had plenty of memorable moments together.
Although the synchronized divers have only been paired together for a few years, the two have known each other since they were children. One of the earliest memories the duo has of each other was a rather painful one for Ware.
“My mom and Jen’s mom were pretty close,” said Ware. “They came over for dinner and when they got to my house I had a huge ice pack on my nose.”
Ware had attempted to do a front flip outside, but landed face first on the grass, breaking her nose.
“When we got there, the only thing I saw was Pam with red eyes, crying and a pack of ice on her nose,” said Abel, chuckling at the memory. “That was pretty funny.”
Ware has improved her backflips immensely since that day, teaming up with Abel to win silver medals in the 3m synchro at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, 2015 Pan Am Games and 2015 World Championships.
“It’s been amazing,” said Ware. “I’m so happy to have someone so experienced next to me. She’s helping me be a better diver and a better person – in and outside the sport. I’m so happy to have her by my side.”
Ware had big shoes to fill when she first partnered with Abel, replacing Emilie Heymans. Abel and Heymans won bronze in the 3m synchro event at London 2012 to go along with silver medals at the 2011 World Championships and Pan Am Games.
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“She had a lot of experience in front of her,” Abel said about Heymans. “That’s the reason why we were able to have only two years of experience beside each other and bring a bronze medal back to Canada. I learned a lot from her experience.”
Heymans is one of the best divers in Canadian Olympic history, winning medals in four straight Games between Sydney 2000 and London 2012. While Heymans has since retired, Canadian diving is in good hands with the Fab IV – which includes Ware, Abel, Roseline Filion and Meaghan Benfeito.
The Fab IV will be representing Canada at Rio 2016 and each has a strong chance at medalling. Abel and Ware will compete in the 3m synchro while Filion and Benfeito will participate in the 10m synchro and all will compete in individual events at their respective heights.
Abel, Filion and Benfeito have already been to two Olympic Games. For Ware, who will be taking part in her first Games, joining a group with so much experience had its challenges.
“At first it was really difficult because I didn’t feel like a belonged,” the 23-year-old said. “The three of them had been together for so long. For me to come in… it was so new for them and for me. It was a little weird and a little hard at the beginning but after a year it was like we were always together.”
Abel and Ware had success together at their first world championship, winning bronze. Now, they’ll look to find success at their first Olympics together.
“I always tell her to be prepared,” said Abel. “It’s going to be big. We’re going to have a lot of media attention. She needs to be ready for that.”