It's been 16 years coming for Italian Olympic diver Tania Cagnotto. The 31-year-old's pursuit of an Olympic medal began in the 2000 Games. She has competed in each of the last five Summer Olympics and, after taking silver in the women's synchronized 3m springboard on Sunday, finally has the Olympic hardware to validate her storied career.
Cagnotto, a 10-time world medalist, finished fourth twice in London. She missed the podium by 2.70 points in the synchronized 3m springboard event and was denied a medal by a miniscule 0.20 points in the individual 3m springboard.
Cagnotto contemplated retirement after what she calls the "deepest moment" of her career, but dedicated herself to finishing on a high note.
"It's amazing," Cognatto said after receiving her silver mdal alongside partner Francesca Dallape. "It's hard to tell how I feel right now. It's 15 years that I'm trying to reach that goal. And four years ago we were really disappointed because we lost our medal for two points.
"We just kept telling us that it was destiny and that we have to keep going. And finally we had what I think we really deserve and we're really happy about that."
It's easy to understand why it felt like destiny; Olympic diving runs in Cagnotto's family. Her father, Giorgio, is one of just four divers to have competed in five Olympic Games, winning four medals from 1972 to 1980.
Cagnotto will get her shot at a second medal in the women's individual 3m springboard event beginning on Friday, Aug. 12.