Sport Other Sports Heartbroken diver returns for another Olympic tilt

Heartbroken diver returns for another Olympic tilt

Melissa Wu
Tweet Share Reddit Pin Email Comment

The road to Rio has been anything but smooth for Australian diving champion Melissa Wu, but she is back after an extended break and ready to compete at her third consecutive Olympics.

Wu burst onto the scene at just 13 at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

Two years later in Beijing she won an Olympic silver medal.

Captain Jedinak back for World Cup qualifier
• Man cheats his way to second in Kenya marathon

At 23, the Gold Coast athlete is one of the most senior members of the Australian diving squad.

But just over 12 months ago, tragedy struck when Wu’s younger sister, Kirsten, took her own life.

“I had to take some time off and just spend that time with my family,” Wu said.

“It was really difficult – and still is, obviously.”

Wu took an extended break from diving and said at one point she considered not coming back.

Melissa Wu
Melissa Wu in action at the FINA World Championships earlier this year. Photo: Getty

“When really tough things happen, sometimes you don’t know where to start or how to even deal with life, so it did cross my mind.

“But then as I worked through things with my family it was clear that diving is a big part of my life.”

She said coming back to diving gave her life purpose again, but admitted it was not easy to get back up on the platform.

“My legs were shaking and I couldn’t really control my body and contract my muscles properly in order to do my dives.

“I knew that in order to fix that physically and help my diving I sort of had to face it mentally.”

Her coach, Chava Sobrino, said he had been stunned by Wu’s brave return.

“I thought we lost her – I thought that was it for her. But now I know Melissa better. She never gave up,” he said.

“You don’t understand or you don’t believe the amount of strength that somebody that size can have. It’s just incredible.

“She’s the perfect example of a strong athlete.”

Wu said she had gained a new appreciation for sport, and knew her sister would be supportive of her career.

“I know that she was really passionate about sport, so to have her watching over me as I compete it gives me an inner strength.”


View Comments