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The Globe and Mail

Alexandre Despatie faces first test since training injury

Canadian Olympian diver Alexandre Despatie shakes water off his hair during a training session in London on Friday July 27, 2012.

The Canadian Press

Confidence is a fragile thing - as Joni Mitchell sang in Big Yellow Taxi, you don't what you've got til it's gone.

Two-time Olympic medal-winning diver Alex Despatie realizes this more than anyone.

A horrific accident in practice six weeks ago - he hit his head on the board and ripped open his scalp - derailed his preparation for the fourth Olympics of his career.

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Wednesday is the first test of whether he's had enough time to rebuild the confidence that is essential to high-level diving and shake off the injury, which caused him to miss almost three weeks of practice time and left him with an angry scar just below his hairline.

Despatie and partner Reuben Ross of Regina will compete in the men's three-metre synchro at about 8 a.m. EDT, though the Chinese are heavily favoured to win gold, the sixth-ranked Canadian pair - who haven't competed much internationally over the past year because of various injuries - have the tools and talent to end the day on the podium.

A medal finish would be the third in as many events for the Canadian diving team, and beyond the result, Wednesday's competition will be an important measuring stick for Despatie, a three-time world champion who is also entered in the individual competition next week.

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