Join us as we talk to diving sensation and GB Olympic contender Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix about her preperations and expectation in the 2024 Olympic Games

Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix

Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix

1. What made you decide to concentrate on sport and who inspired you to take up high diving?  

I was talent-spotted at the age of eight in my primary school. They invited me to do tester sessions and I haven't stopped since. I was told at a young age I had potential, but obviously I didn't know what that meant. The more I trained, the more I fell in love with the sport and the passion for it grew. My technique got better, and my diving got better. Since then I've been growing and getting better and better, trying to push the boundaries in the sport.

2. What has been your biggest achievements to date in your diving so far?

The World Championships in Doha in February. That was my third World Championships, and it was the first time that I had reached the final and got the bronze medal in the individual event. I felt so overjoyed with the fact that I'd gone through three separate years of not being as successful as I wanted to be and then coming to Doha as prepared as possible and then getting that medal. It just felt like all of the hard work paid off and I was just so joyful and so grateful to God. It was an amazing World Championships. We got gold in the team event. And then I got a bronze in the synchro with Lois Tolson. I came back home very happy. 

3. When you step out to compete, what goes through your mind at this final stage, how do you prepare yourself mentally just prior to competing?

I ensure that I breathe and that I'm focused on my breath and that I'm not focused on the negative but focused on encouraging myself and praying and being in that presence with God and ensuring that I know it's just a dive at the end of the day. I want to get off the board as quickly as possible, so I want to make sure that my mind is clear and that I'm not thinking too much and that I just flow with the movements.

4. What are the main obstacles you need to overcome to become an elite sportsperson?

Self-doubt I feel like is a big one. You don't think it's possible for yourself, you feel like it's only possible for other people, when in reality the work that you put in does pay off. You're your own biggest critic. So sometimes we are too unkind to ourselves, when in reality we should share the same grace that we give other people. We should give to ourselves as well.

5. How would you inspire and what advice would you pass on to someone who wants achieve the levels that you have.

To take that leap of faith. Start slowly but learn to fall in love with the feeling of diving. Don’t be afraid to take that first step - no matter how old you may be - because at the end the coaches are there to help to guide and teach you

6. The current Toyota campaign showcases the power of local communities rallying behind their athletes, and Toyota’s belief that no journey is taken alone -  Who has supported you on your journey and how?

You know my mom and my brother have really watched every single training and taken me to training and done homework at the pool. My dad has supported me the whole way and he's been so encouraging and provided me with so much love. My family has really just helped push me and helped me to never give up, which is so important at the times that I wanted to give up. They were just like no, we know what you're capable of. You're capable of doing it. We want to encourage you.

7. What are your short-term and long-term goals in diving and beyond?

So short-term goal is obviously to complete the Olympic Games. To keep on growing and evolving in my diving career. In the long term, I want to settle down. I want to have a family, get a job and hopefully help people with my story and encourage and inspire others to not give up and to kind of push through pain and push through the hard times. Because at the end the strength that you get is all from the lessons that you learned, which is so much more valuable than you initially thought.

8. Diving requires tremendous concentration. How do you mentally prepare for a big dive or competition?


So with competitions, I rely on my routine, and I don't like to change anything from what I usually do at home, so it's a lot less stressful. So instead of thinking I need to do my competition routine, I just need to do my everyday routine the night before. I always like to end my day with a Bible study, praying; just ensuring that my focus before I go to bed is God. Then my focus when I wake up is God. Having that in motion and set in stone really does help me remain focused. And also, it just helps me remember that there's something a lot bigger than just a competition and it helps me remain humble going into my competitions and into my day, because it's just another day, and tomorrow's a new day. And I want to do the best that I can with the energy and the knowledge that I have. So I wouldn't say I don't have any rituals. I tend to stay away from superstition because it doesn't put me in the right mindset. It actually takes me away from what's important.  I just remain focused on God. I listen to my music, Bible study and ensure that my process is correct.

9. Diving is a sport where body image can be particularly scrutinized. How do you maintain a positive body image and what advice would you give to others dealing with similar pressures?

Obviously we're judged on how we look and how we perform and it's something that I'm still navigating today. I really couldn't care less about the opinions of others, especially on something that I didn't even ask them to talk about. And I block people who make unnecessary and crude comments.

I really feel like as a society we should move towards minding our own business and not making awful comments about people's bodies, but to be kind and to be loving and to be encouraging. I want everyone to know that they are beautiful the way that they are. The people that scrutinise you for being who you are, have deep unanswered insecurities and struggles that they're going through, so it's not a reflection of who you are; it's a reflection of who they are. Remember that you are beautiful the way that you are made, and God made you the way that you are for a reason. Everyone should know that they're beautiful.

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