Canadian Olympic diver Jennifer Abel made a triumphant return to Montreal on Monday after capturing silver in the women’s three-metre synchronized springboard event with teammate Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu.
The 29-year-old from Laval, Que., was greeted at Trudeau International Airport by friends and family, including boyfriend and pro boxer David Lemieux, who couldn’t wait to pop the question.
Eye of the Tiger Management (EOTTM), who manages Lemieux’s career, posted about the surprise proposal on its Facebook page.
“I’d been thinking about it for a long time,” Lemieux told EOTTM. “But I was waiting for the right moment.”
Abel, for her part, said she was rendered speechless by the grand gesture.
“I was so surprised and happy that I had no words,” she said. “My face, however, said it all.”
Lemieux added he was also waiting for Abel to complete her “Olympic mission” before asking for her hand in marriage.
“I am so proud of her and everything she’s accomplished,” he said. “I followed all her performances day after day.”
Despite family and friends not being able to attend the Tokyo games in person due to COVID-19 restrictions, Abel said she could feel the support from afar.
“They were following me at all times,” she told EOTTM. “I think David is feeling the same jet lag as I am, even though he stayed here.”
While Abel captured her second-career Olympic medal in Tokyo, having won bronze in the three-metre synchro in London 2012 with then-partner Émilie Heymans, she added an individual would have been nice.
Abel finished in eighth position in the three-metre springboard event on Aug. 1 after stumbling on her third dive.
“Despite this difficult year for all, I couldn’t have hoped for more,” she said. “I am satisfied at coming back with a silver medal even if I would have liked to obtain one individually.”
But Abel isn’t looking back.
“I’m ready … to move on to a new chapter in my life,” she said, “with David.”
Montreal Olympian Jennifer Abel
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