China’s five-time Olympic gold medallist diver Chen Ruolin quits aged just 23

Team manager says a neck injury could cause her problems if she continues

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 2:10pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 11:09pm

China’s multiple Olympic gold-medal-winning diver announced her shock retirement from the national team – aged just 23.

Team manager Zhou Jihong said Chen decided to call it a day after the Rio Games due to a nagging neck injury.

“She has a neck injury which may cause some problems if she continues with her career,” said Zhou. “Chen had great courage to get past the Rio Games but now she has virtually retired. She could still have a lot more to offer due to her age, skills and experience in the sport.

“It’s a pity that she has to retire because of injury.”

Chen’s gold in the synchronised 10-metre with Liu Huixia in Brazil saw her tie with Wu Minxia, also a diver, and gymnast Zhou Kai as athletes to have won a record five Olympic golds for China.

Wu, 30, also stepped down from the national team right after the Rio Games.

Hardship and hunger: it’s been a tough journey to the top for China’s diving golden girl Chen Ruolin

Jiangsu native Chen was recruited into the national team at the age of 14. She won both the 10-metre events at the Beijing and London Olympics before adding to her tally in Rio. She also won five world championship gold medals and seven in the World Cup.