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Commonwealth Games 2002
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Swimming Thursday, 25 July, 2002, 19:36 GMT 20:36 UK
Gladiator Smith delighted with medal
Jane Smith
Smith made her name on TV show Gladiators
BBC Sport Online's Saj Chowdhury

A year ago Jane Smith probably would have laughed at the suggestion that she would be taking home a Commonwealth medal.

Shoulder surgery for the England springboard diver in the middle of 2001 forced her to miss the World Championship and it seemed that getting fit for the Manchester was a long way away.

But one year on, the veteran of three Games has finally achieved her ambition and told BBC Sport Online that last year's setback made her fitter and more determined for success.

open quote
Gladiators was totally different - diving is different and it has always been my true love
end quote
Jane Smith

"I'm overwhelmed with everything. The feeling's just unbelievable," she said.

"I had to keep myself motivated during the time I was injured, knowing that I'd be competing for my home country.

"During the rehab I had up days and down days. I was disappointed with missing the World Championships but I knew I had Manchester to look forward to and I seem to have come on leaps and bounds."

Smith pulled out one of the best dives of her career in the final to guarantee herself a medal and it was certainly no consolation to finish behind 2001 world champion Blythe Hartley and gold medallist Irina Lashko.

Her mental toughness was evident when she claimed television's Gladiators prize in 1998 which then led to her becoming supreme champion in 1999.

However, the Sheffield diver was keen to differentiate her achievement in Manchester with victory on the television show.

She explained: "Gladiators was totally different. It was about power and strength.

"Diving is different and it has always been my true love.

"My first love though, was gymnastics. But I grew too tall and got a knee injury so I retired at the grand old age of 11.

"I started diving at 15 which is considered very late. I think I've always been the somersault twisting type of girl, and I wouldn't want to swap that for anything else."

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Bob Ballard
"The diving team are expecting more medals"
Bronze medallist Jane Smith
"I am over the moon"
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See also:

25 Jul 02 | Features
23 Jul 02 | Front Page
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