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 3m 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.
“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. – Agence France-Presse