‘My only regret is that I have not fully demonstrated my value’: Chinese Olympic champion He Zi retires at 26

He reluctantly retires citing a nagging foot injury and her joy at expecting to become a mother this year

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 July, 2017, 2:02pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 July, 2017, 3:12pm

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 3-metre 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 medallist Qin Kai, also a diver, who got down on one knee just after she stepped off the podium.

Olympic rings: China’s He receives a marriage proposal from her diver boyfriend to go with her silver medal

“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.