Chinese Diver Learns Family Tragedies Only After Winning Gold
Chinese diver Wu Minxia not only got first place at the Women’s Synchronized 3m Springboard competition this year, but she also made history as the first woman to win gold in the same event for three consecutive Olympics.
Unfortunately, with the joy of her accomplishments comes a poorly-timed reveal of family secrets.
Wu’s father, Wu Jueming announced that the family has been keeping the Olympian in the dark regarding some family tragedies that happened over the past years. They have concealed not only the deaths of both Wu’s grandparents, but also Wu’s mother’s 8-year bout with breast cancer.
“Wu called us after her grandmother died, I gritted my teeth and told her: ‘Everything’s fine, there aren’t any problems’,” the dad explained.
“It was essential to tell this white lie,” he also added. “We accepted a long time ago that she doesn’t belong entirely to us, I don’t even dare to think about things like enjoying family happiness.”
The story of Wu’s family has sparked a backlash against the Chinese state-run view of the Olympics and the mentality of winning at all costs.
Children with Olympic potential start a rigorous training regimen at a very young age. Wu herself began daily diving classes when she was just 6-years-old. By the time she was 16, she was forced to leave home to start intensive training at a government aquatic sports institute. At that time, family contact was kept to a minimum in an attempt to shield athletes from any personal distractions.
During this year’s Olympics, congratulatory messages from the Chinese government only went to the gold medalists; there was no mention or acknowledgement of the silver or bronze winners. Is winning gold the only thing that counts?