Chinese Olympic champion He Zi retires at 26

Chinese Olympic diving champion He Zi has reluctantly retired aged 26 citing a nagging foot injury and her joy at expecting to become a mother this year.

China’s He Zi (right) had made all heads turn when she received a marriage proposal from fellow Chinese diver Qin Kai during the podium ceremony at the Rio Olympic Games last year.   -  AFP

 

Chinese Olympic diving champion He Zi has reluctantly retired aged 26 citing a nagging foot injury and her joy at expecting to become a mother this year.

He, who won gold in the synchronised 3m springboard competition at the 2012 London Olympics, said she had taken an 11-month break after the 2016 Rio Games. But she said on her Weibo micro-blogging account that her injury returned recently after a three-hour walk and she could not even step on the floor barefoot after staying home for five days.

“Sometimes when I could not sleep at night I was always thinking about continuing training, but how? (The injury) relapses even when I walk. How can I continue a large amount of diving every day?” she wrote.

“Don't ask me why I choose to leave this early under such good condition, or whether I would regret or feel pity, my only regret is that I have not fully demonstrated my value.”

The diver earned a silver medal in Rio, but the moment is best remembered by the marriage proposal made by fellow Olympic medallist Qin Kai, also a diver, who got down on one knee just after she stepped off the podium. “I have fought for this diving career for 20 years and I should start fighting for my own small family from now on. Last year I was an athlete but this year I am a wife and going to be a mother,” He wrote on Weibo.

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