Italian diving icon Tania Cagnotto has been vying for an Olympic medal since 2000. After multiple fourth-place finishes over four Olympic Games, the 31-year-old will finally be taking home the hardware.
Cagnotto, who took silver in the synchronized springboard event last Sunday, won bronze in the individual springboard a week later.
"It just had to finish in that way," Cagnotto said. "It was destiny."
In some ways, it was. Cagnotto grew up surrounded by diving accolades as the daughter of two Olympic divers. This year, she became one of only seven divers to compete in five different Olympic Games. One of those seven is Giorgio Cagnotto, Tania's father and coach, who won four medals from 1964 to 1080. (The other five are Dmitry Sautin-RUS, Niki Stajkovic-AUT, Anna Lindberg-SWE, Juliana Veloso-BRA and Ken Terauchi-JPN.)
Cagnotto, who has overcome numerous injuries and a scooter accident in 2011, showed her mettle this year in Rio. She narrowly missing the podium twice in 2012 London Games and called it the "deepest moment" of her career. After considering retirement, the 10-time world medalist dedicated herself to ending her career on a higher note.
"I just wanted to finish my career with my best score," Cagnotto said. "I really tried to enjoy dive for dive, knowing that it was going to be my last competition. I can't be any happier than today."
Cagnotto made her final Olympic dive on Sunday, throwing a huge reverse 2.5 pike and ripping the entry for a score of 81.00 that vaulted her past Canada's Jennifer Abel and onto the podium in the women's springboard. With her longtime goals accomplished, Cagnotto can ride off into the sunset on the highest note of her career.