So, I was going through some junk last week and I found some cutouts from old newspapers from the Olympics in 2008 in China. (Yeah, four years ago! I’m a pack rat alright!) Unfortunately I forgot to scan those for you all to see for my Olympic memory this week. SO!
For this week, I’m still going back to China actually. Looking at one of their most memorable athletes who’s been to the Olympics four times since 1996 in Atlanta and finally decided to retire for this round in 2012. I’m talking about Guo Jingjing, China’s Princess of Diving.
When I saw her dive for the first time I remember thinking to myself, ‘she needs a hug.’ Why So Serious? Personally I always preferred Wu Minxia her partner for the pairs diving. She was always smiling and hugging people during competition, there was just a lot more warmth from her than Miss Guo who mostly only showed her shy smile when blushing for the camera or waving to her adoring Chinese public.
However, and I stress, HOWEVER, Jingjing was and probably still is, an absolute and undeniable bad-ass in the diving world. There was just something different about the way she dived. It was sharp and still effortless, as if she could do that kind of stuff in her sleep, you know?
She did start diving when she was six years old after all and started competing just a year after that, training none stop since then until she was accepted on the Chinese national team in 1992. So, I’m a writer but I’ll try to do the math here. Born in 1981, made the team in 1992, that’s what at age eleven? I don’t know the age limit for national teams so is that normal or even possible?
Even next to Wu Minxia, a pro like herself, you can still see the subtle differences between the two forms which I guess reflects the levels of experience or the length of training behind their skill. The way Guo makes that little extra stretch, that extra movement that makes her form a little straighter is what make her spins and her entries into the water so much cleaner and took her to the Olympic Gold four times.
This lady was the reason I wanted to learn to dive and actually ventured to the pool to try to get over my fear of deep waters. I’m okay in the shallows! No problem, I’m underwater, floating, treading, back stroke, you name it. As long as my feet can touch the bottom while my head is still above water, I am FLIPPER HIMSELF!
Put me in the deep, chaos. (I’M DROWNING!)
I admit, I did get fond of her all the same and I’ll miss seeing her slice through the water this Olympics but Wu will be there and the new members on the team. Hey, there’ll be new members on all the teams for me to get to know and I’m sure, knowing Jingjing, she’ll be in the crowd supporting her peeps. She never did miss out on cheering her fellow athletes on.
Here’s to her magnetic and incredible Olympic career and to going out with a bang. Don’t forget to view Jingjing and Minxia diving at the 2008 World Series and the 2008 Olympics in China below.
Written by – Travesaou
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