Diving: Emotional Wu retires, thanks her supporters

Wu Minxia, hailed by Guinness World Records as the most successful diver in Olympic history, becomes emotional during her retirement speech on Thursday, at the nomination ceremony for the year-ending CCTV Sports Personality of the Year.
Wu Minxia, hailed by Guinness World Records as the most successful diver in Olympic history, becomes emotional during her retirement speech on Thursday, at the nomination ceremony for the year-ending CCTV Sports Personality of the Year.PHOTO: XINHUA

BEIJING • Chinese diver Wu Minxia, 31, a five-time Olympic gold medallist, tearfully announced her retirement on Thursday, saying that her "physical condition" prevented her from continuing in the sport.

Wu took home five golds in four Olympics, most recently winning the women's 3m synchronised springboard in Rio in August.

"I am really sorry, but my physical condition does not allow me to continue training," she said during a live stream on CCTV, China's national broadcaster.

She was presenting two categories at the nomination ceremony for the year-ending 2016 CCTV Sports Personality of the Year.

Earlier this year, she reported on her verified Weibo social media account that a leg injury hindered her training before the Rio Olympic Games, and a fellow diver has described Wu as being easily injured.

"I really feared the coming of today," she added, crying after she announced her decision.

"I started learning to dive at six, joined the national team at 13, and those 25 years (since I started diving) seem like a short span," Wu wrote on Weibo earlier on Wednesday. "Thank you for all your support."

She made her Olympic debut at Athens 2004 when she was 19, and since then has won all four golds in the women's 3m synchronised springboard in the Games.

She also won the women's individual 3m springboard event at the 2012 London Olympics.

After seizing gold in Rio this year, she became the most successful diver in Olympic history with five golds, one silver, and one bronze, according to Guinness World Records.

When asked if she had plans to retire at the end of the Rio Games, she said: "Probably, yes. It's not easy. It's hard to explain how much effort you need to put into this training process.

"No matter what lies ahead of me, I know that I have done my very best in my career."

Wu is one of only two Chinese divers to win five Olympic golds, the other being 23-year-old Chen Ruolin, who also announced her retirement in October due to a neck injury.

Chinese divers won seven out of eight gold medals at the Rio Games in what is one of the country's most successful Olympic sports.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2016, with the headline 'Emotional Wu retires, thanks her supporters'. Print Edition | Subscribe