Wu dives to golden mile­stone

Four straight ti­tles for old­est cham­pion

China Daily (USA) - - RIO OLYMPICS - By SUN XIAOCHEN in Rio de Janeiro sunx­i­aochen@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chi­nese diver Wu Minxia ce­mented her name in Olympic his­tory on Sun­day, be­com­ing the sport’s most dec­o­rated fe­male when she part­nered with Shi Ting­mao on five flaw­less dives to win gold in the syn­chro­nized 3-me­ter spring­board com­pe­ti­tion.

After the tan­dem scored 345.6 points in the fi­nal, Wu be­camethe first­womanto win gold at four con­sec­u­tive Games and, at 30 years and 271 days, the old­est fe­male to win an Olympic div­ing gold medal.

She has also set the record for most golds in Olympic div­ing (5) and tied gym­nast Zou Kai for the most by any Chi­nese ath­lete.

Wu’s parents and her boyfriend, Zhang Xiaocheng, were watch­ing from the stands at Rio’s Maria Lenk Aquat­ics Cen­ter, cheer­ing and wav­ing red flags.

“I still feel ner­vous be­fore a fi­nal, but I pre­pared and ex­e­cuted the rou­tines like I usu­ally do,” said Wu, a Shang­hai na­tive who started div­ing in 1991.

Hinting she might re­tire after these Games, Wu said she “started to miss” the podium as soon as she stepped down from it, “as I won’t have the chance to make my way up there again”.

Since with­draw­ing from the Na­tional Games in 2013 due to wrist in­flam­ma­tion, a se­ries of in­juries to her neck, waist and leg left Wu re­quir­ing al­most daily phys­i­cal ther­apy.

“It feels like I have no other parts of my body that could bear an­other in­jury,” she said.

“Ev­ery time after a ma­jor event I thought about quit­ting, but the mo­ti­va­tion of break­ing the age bar­rier and the records has driven me through.”

Wu’s ded­i­ca­tion and achieve­ments earned praise from her rivals.

“I am happy for her, she de­serves it. For us, com­pet­ing against the Chi­nese is like run­ning against Us­ain Bolt,” said Ital­ian diver Ta­nia Cag­notto, who paired with Francesca Dal­lape for the sil­ver medal.

Aus­tralia’s Mad­di­son Keeney and An­abelle Smith took the bronze.

Wu’s part­ner Shi, six years her ju­nior, said prac­tic­ing along­side “sis­terXia” gives her some­one to look up to.

“She’s been a role model for us be­cause she al­ways stays rig­or­ous in her train­ing,” said Shi.

“Her com­pe­tence and suc­cess at the Olympics at this age has mo­ti­vated and in­spired me.”

Wu said she plans to re­turn to college to com­plete a sport­sre­lated post­grad­u­ate pro­gram after she re­tires from com­pe­ti­tion.

Jiefang Daily re­ported she will pur­sue a Mas­ter’s de­gree at Shang­hai Univer­sity of Sport.

Zhang, who lives in Beijing, said he is plan­ning to re­lo­cate to Shang­hai to be withWu.

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