Guo coy on retirement rumours

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 December, 2009, 12:00am

Guo Jingjing hardly created a ripple in the pool as she and partner Wu Minxia easily won the women's three-metre synchronised springboard gold medal. But she created more waves out of it.

The media was agog with the possibility the most famous female athlete on the mainland was on the verge of retiring - a rumour had surfaced she was ready to quit the sport and go to university - or that she was about to take the plunge and get married.

'There are too many ifs and these are all hypothetical questions,' a smiling Guo said. 'But if it is my decision, I will want to take part in future competitions.'

The 28-year-old Guo, the most successful female diver in Olympic history having won four gold medals and two silver, hogged the limelight at the Kowloon Park pool on the final day of the Games.

Guo dispelled all talk she was on the verge of retiring and said even marriage might not slow her down - she is romantically linked to Kenneth Fok Kai-fong, one of the sons of Hong Kong Olympic chief Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, who was among the fans in the packed stands.

'I learned about my 'retirement' from the press, and now all people are asking me is whether I will retire. No matter what my decision is, I'm sure he [Kenneth Fok] will support me,' Guo said.

Guo and Wu began slowly, trailing after the first of five dives, to surprise silver medallists Choi Sut-lan and Lei Sio-i of Macau and Japanese duo Risa Asada and Yuka Mabuchi, who finished with the bronze.

But the pair then put on a dazzling show with their back dives, inward somersaults, reverse somersaults and back somersaults all but perfect to aggregate 357.60 points.

Their dominance was underlined by the fact Macau only totalled 288.83, prompting one wag to say Guo and Wu should have been given only a couple of dives while the rest had a full quota. 'They were fantastic, especially Guo. I came to see her,' fan Annie Tai said. 'I became a huge supporter of her after last year's Beijing Olympics and this is the first time I've seen her in the flesh.'

The seven-member Kwok family was also transfixed by Guo's grace and athleticism. 'I made sure we all got tickets to see the diving competition,' said father Kwok Sai-cheong. His five-year-old son, Him-him, added: 'I like Jingjing. I hope one day to be a diver too.'

Guo has given a lifetime to diving but she revealed yesterday it wasn't her decision solely whether she will quit or not.

'That will be up to the national team and it's not for me to decide,' Guo said when asked if she would be around for the 2012 London Olympics. 'I will have to listen to them. Anyway, it is too early to think about that now.'

Marriage was also apparently way in the future. 'I came here for these Games and all my concentration and energy was on this competition,' she said, smilingly brushing aside a question about whether she had noted her boyfriend in the crowd.

The few ripples she created in the pool had died down, but the tsunami of media speculation kept coming at her. Guo gracefully handled it, with the aplomb of a champion.