A Sheffield jeweller has done its bit to help produce a new gem in Team GB’s Olympic diving squad.
Stannington medal hopeful Freddie Woodward is now in Rio preparing to compete in the individual 3-metre springboard – but left safely at home is the diamond-studded ‘lucky charm’ which has rewarded his success and motivated him to aim ever-higher for the last three years.
A solid silver key ring studded with 13 diamonds to mark each major sporting achievement which have been his stepping stones to the Olympics, it is one of the 20-year-old’s most prized possessions.
Each gemstone was earned thanks to a unique scheme set up by Green + Benz, award-winning jewellers with stores in Sheffield and Chesterfield, to reward City of Sheffield Diving Club’s young elite at peak moments in their career.
Green + Benz MD Helen Dimmick, a world-renowned gemologist and diamond grader, launched the scheme after witnessing a club diving display at Ponds Forge aimed at attracting new talent and supporters in 2012.
Helen, who trained as a ballet dancer with the Royal Academy of Dancing until she was 19, was stunned by the physicality and beauty of the performances and the commitment and discipline shown. She decided to amalgamate the worlds of jewellery and sport and gift divers with an inspirational reward scheme.
With Tom Owens the head coach, the company formed a unique plan based on the plus ‘+’ sign in the Green + Benz branding. At the point of selection to the Elite squad, a diver is gifted with a solid silver ‘+’ keyring.
When they progress a stage, a single diamond is added along the vertical axis. The ‘arms’ of the key ring are saved for competition success; every medal won is represented by a yellow, white or bronze-coloured diamond, making each key ring an individual record of the diver’s story.
Club head coach Tom Owens said: “I said I wanted to find diving diamonds to forge a bright future for the club and that resonated with Helen.
“It’s brilliant to see a local business going above and beyond. That should be celebrated, particularly as one of the diamond scheme’s first recipients steps up to the Olympic diving board. The diamond awards have inspired and motivated. At every major stage in their careers, divers have said to me: does this mean another diamond in my pendant?
“That includes Freddie. He has received 13 diamonds on his journey from junior elite level to Olympian. His pendant is pretty blingy!”
Freddie, first spotted as a Dobcroft Primary School pupil, won bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. From his training camp in the USA, he said: “To have my diving achievements acknowledged with diamonds is very special. The key rings are treasured by all who receive them. Mine is priceless to me.
“It’s an amazing thing for the club to have such a unique award scheme. I always want to achieve my absolute best, regardless of external rewards. However it’s very motivating when you know certain performances could realise a new diamond.”
Since 2013 Green + Benz have created key rings for 23 divers and set around 100 diamonds into them, at a cost of over £5,000.
Helen Dimmick said: “When I saw the divers perform it reminded me of the discipline of my ballet career. I wanted to help fire their goals and chose to use diamonds because they embody, rarity, quality, beauty and strength.
“I’m thrilled by the success of the scheme, the divers are doing so well we have almost completely covered the keyrings in diamonds! It’s an honour for G + B to be part of their journey and we are delighted that in some small way our diamond scheme has brought another gem to Team GB in Rio.”