Heymans, Abel capture Canada's 1st medal at London Olympics

Emilie Heymans and Jennifer Abel have given Canada its first medal of the London Games.

The diving pair claimed bronze in the women's three-metre synchronized event Sunday.

The podium is familiar ground to Heymans. The 30-year-old native of St. Lambert, Que., is the first female diver in history to win a medal in four straight Olympic Games.

“It’s really great. And I hope it’s going to inspire the other athletes to do well and to do their best over the next two weeks,” Heymans said.

Abel won her first medal after making her Olympic debut at Beijing four years ago. The 20-year-old from Laval, Que., also won a silver with Heymans in the event at last year's world championships.

"It's awesome," said Heymans. "I'm really happy that I was able to win my fourth medal with Jennifer. We worked really hard over the last two years."

After the medal ceremony, Abel said the feeling of winning an Olympic medal had not yet sunken in.

“Since the beginning of the year we’ve been really nervous about that moment,” she said. “I think it takes time to just calm down and just realize it.”

Mark Tewksbury, Chef de Mission of Team Canada said today’s success tells the story of the Canadian team in London.

“It’s what I hoped would happen,” he said. “It’s a young team coming together with veterans. And that energy that can be created can be magical. And we just saw it today.”

World champions Minxia Wu and He Zi of China led from start to finish to take the gold with an overall score of 346.20.

Americans Kelci Bryant and Abigail Johnston captured silver with 321.90 while Heymans and Abel recorded 316.80 points.

The pair's fifth dive kept them on the podium after Italy fumbled its fourth dive.

It took Canada just two days of full competition to earn a medal, an early step toward the team's goal of a top-12 finish overall.

The result will be a momentum boost for other Canadian athletes — it took the team eight days of competition in 2008 to step onto the podium.

With files from CBCSports.ca