Olympic rivals are awestruck by China’s diving dominance, but they are also wary.
China’s unwavering dominance in Olympic diving has opponents in Tokyo wondering not only how they might beat them, but also whether China’s strategy is desirable or even healthy.
China has dominated Olympic diving for the past 30 years, and while their chances of capturing all eight golds at the Tokyo Games have faded, they can still match the seven golds they won in Rio in 2016.
So far, they’ve won three of the four diving titles in the pandemic-delayed Games, with Britain surprising everyone by winning the fourth.
Without going into much more detail, Chinese divers participating in the Japanese capital have constantly commented about the hard effort they put in and the assistance they received from the country’s sports authorities.
However, after winning the men’s synchronised 3m springboard on Wednesday, Xie Siyi revealed more than he intended when he spoke about “very boring” training days and living in dormitories with his teammates.
“Every day we go from the dormitory to the training centre, then we go back to eat, then we go back to training, then we go back to sleep,” Xie added, using unusually forthright language for China’s generally guarded athletes.
Two youngsters, Chen Yuxi, 15, and Zhang Jiaqi, 17, helped China win the women’s 10m synchronised platform on Tuesday.
Eden Cheng, who finished seventh out of eight for Britain with partner Lois Toulson, is a year older at 18.
China’s success, according to Cheng, is due to the sheer number of hours spent training. However, she has other concerns since she realizes that diving will not always be a part of her life.
“I just finished my A-Levels (last school examinations), so I’ve been a full-time student and diver,” Cheng explained.
“They don’t do much education because they are so concentrated on their sport,” says the author.
“They do live at the pool,” says the narrator. I visited the national pool where one of the (Chinese) girls dives and saw the facilities and learned about their lives.
“It’s nothing in comparison to what we do in the United Kingdom. They are unquestionably on the next level.”
Other Olympic divers striving to keep up with the Chinese say it’s also because China has such a large pool of talent to choose from, thanks to the world’s largest population and a long track record in the sport.
They also believe that Chinese people begin diving at a very young age.
Chen and Zhang, the Olympic winners at the age of sixteen. Brief News from Washington Newsday.