Olympic diving champion He retires at 26

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.
AFP
Imaginechina

Gold medal winner He Zi of China poses during the podium ceremony for the women's 3-meter springboard event at the FINA Diving World Series in Kazan, Russia, in this April 24, 2016, photo.

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 synchronized 3-meter 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 microblogging 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 medalist 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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