Tuesday Alexandre Despatie announced his decision, he has officially retired from diving following a 22-year career.

“After much internal reflection, I have decided to turn the page and retire from diving. I look forward to new challenges and I think that the time is right for me to step aside,” he said. “I would have liked to participate in this year’s world championships in Barcelona, but circumstances are such that I am unable to. After diving for all these years, I am satisfied with my career and happy with my decision. As I look back, I am so proud of everything I have accomplished. I would like to thank all those who have supported me throughout my career: my coaches, my teammates, Diving Canada, Plongeon Québec, B2dix, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada who has supported me for almost 15 years, as well as all my other sponsors including Gillette and the law firm Lavery. A big thank you to the organizations that supported me over the years: Sports Québec, Club de la médaille d’or, Antoine-de-Saint-Exupéry School, Institut national du sport du Québec and NATIONAL Public Relations. Finally, a huge thank you to my family for their unconditional support.”

“Alexander is an outstanding ambassador and continues to impress us with his determination and professionalism,” said Rocco Lofano, Vice President, Eastern Canada, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada. “Alexandre has been with the McFamily for 14 years and he will always be a part of it. We are extremely proud of him. He is an example of determination, courage and perseverance for all our employees.”

McDonald’s has been supporting Alexandre Despatie’s career since 1999. While it’s often been reported that the partnership with Alexandre began when he said that he wanted a Big Mac following the Commonwealth Games, McDonald’s says their support is because of his values and his personality. As an ambassador, Despatie participates actively in promoting sports programs and takes part in various non-profit causes supported by McDonald’s, including Ronald McDonald House Charities. McDonald’s will continue to support Alexander in 2013 despite the announcement of his retirement.

In 1998, when he was only 13 years old, the entire province of Quebec was moved by Alexandre Despatie, when he won the gold for the 10-metre at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. This achievement earned Alexandre a spot in the 2000 Guinness Book of World Records. Subsequently, Alexander’s career included a series of exploits and medals: first athlete to be crowned world champion in all three diving events at the 2005 FINA World Aquatics Championships; eight medals at the FINA World Championships; six at the FINA World Cup;  11 at the Commonwealth Games (a record among all Canadian athletes); five at the Pan American Games; in addition to having earned over 40 national titles in various individual and synchronized events. Alexander still holds the Canadian Senior records for the 10-metre, 3-metre and 3-metre synchro with Arturo Miranda.

In Sydney in 2000, Alexander participated in his first Olympic Games where he finished fourth in the 10-metre platform event. At his second Olympic experience in Athens, in 2004, Alexandre earned a silver medal for the 3-metre springboard and became the first Canadian in history to win an Olympic diving medal. Alexandre won the silver medal for the 3-metre springboard at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, after recovering from a fractured foot which occurred a few months before the games. Then, in 2012, Alexandre participated at the Olympic Games in London where he finished 11th at 3-metreand 6th in the 3-metre synchro with Reuben Ross.

During his career, Alexandre has received numerous awards including the international diver award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale (2007), the Maurice Award for international male athlete of the year three years in a row, the Personality of the Year award in the sports and recreation category at the La Presse/Radio-Canada Gala Excellence (2006) and was also named Male Athlete of the Year by Diving Canada (2012).

Going forward, Alexandre intends to pursue a career in the fields of art and media. Having lived his first cinematographic experience a few years ago with the movie À vos marques, party!, and a very recent animation experience with Le Grand saut, Alexandre got hooked and looks forward to participating in other television and film projects in the future.

SOURCE: McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited

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