Olympic medal-winning diver Hartley dedicates season to late brother
robin kuniski/for metro calgary
The death of diving champion Blythe Hartley’s brother last year was a crushing blow; the family was devastated and her promising diving career was on hold.
Inspired by the quiet strength her brother exemplified, the aquatic ace was determined to make a comeback.
Hartley, a two-time world champion diver and Olympic medallist, launched her 2008 season yesterday at the Talisman Centre by dedicating the season to her brother, Strachan, who died last year after a battle with lymphoma.
"I’m absolutely honoured to dedicate my season to him, he was my big brother and he would have wanted this. He taught me to reach for and achieve excellence," Hartley told Metro.
The diver recalls her brother looking out for her and encouraging her to compete hard and to always strive to be the best.
Hartley and Strachan were close; he travelled to Greece with her for the last Olympics, supporting her from the start to the finish.
"My brother lived his life trying to make a difference in the lives of others and we were proud of him. It was tough on our family to hear he had cancer because he was always the picture of health and it caught us by surprise," she said.
Hartley took last year off from competition while dealing with her brother’s illness and eventual death.
"Last year was really hard on our family. My brother was such a big part of my life and was a big part of my career. He always backed me up and looked at me the same whether I came in first or last," she said.
"I just couldn’t imagine competing without him there. But I knew this is what he would have wanted and he always lived his life with strength and courage, even when he was sick."