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He Zi: The Diving Princess, who used to be afraid of water

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She is Olympic and four-time world champion, record-holder in the FINA Diving World Series, and accepted a marriage proposal by boyfriend and fellow diver Qin Kai at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio while standing on the podium. He Zi is one of the best female divers of all time, and she is eager to achieve some more good results at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest.

 

He Zi has a very pertinent nickname: she is the Diving Princess, who is really adorable and has been delivering plenty of medals in major events for over a decade. No room for doubt she will do the same at the 2017 FINA World Championships as well.

The Nanning-born athlete was initially reluctant to diving. "They told me diving was fun, but I regretted it as soon as I got to the pool and saw how deep it was. I hoped that someone would come and rescue me.” – she told once Chinese newspaper People’s Daily. Thank God she later took a liking to water, and still became a diver.

She won her first major international medals at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, where she finished second in the 1m and the 3m springboard. A year later, at age 17 she won the gold medal at the FINA World Championships in Melbourne in the 1m springboard. Regarding the world championships, she won another gold in 2011 in Shanghai in the 3m synchronised dive with Wu Minxia, and won both the 1m and the 3m springboard in 2013 in Barcelona. At the 2015 WCH in Kazan she won a silver and a bronze medal.

He has won one gold and two silver medals at the Olympic Games: she finished first in the 3m synchronised dive with Wu Minxia in 2012 in London, and second in the 3m springboard. She repeated the latter result four years later in Rio de Janeiro.

26-year-old He won the gold medal in the 3m springboard at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou and at the 2011 Universiade in Shenzhen as well.

He Zi is a record-holder in the FINA Diving World Series. She won her 47th competition in Dubai last year, breaking Chen Ruolin’s record.

She was named the 2013 Female Springboard Diver of the Year by the International Swimming Federation.

She was awarded the May 4th Youth Medal in 2010 by the Guangdong provincial government in the People's Republic of China.

She got another very special ’award’ at the Rio Olympics: she accepted a marriage proposal by boyfriend and fellow diver Qin Kai while standing on the podium after her silver medal in the 3m springboard.

He Zi will be among the favourites at the 2017 FINA World Championships as well. The final of the 1m springboard will be held on 15 July, the final of the 3m springboard on 21 July in the new Danube Arena.

HE ZI

Born: Nanning (China), 11 December, 1990

Medal record:

Olympic champion (2012 London: 3 m synchro); two-time Olympic silver medallist (2012 London: 3m springboard; 2016 Rio de Janeiro: 3m springboard)

Four-time world champion (2007 Melbourne: 1 m springboard; 2011 Shanghai: 3m synchro; 2013 Barcelona: 1m and 3m springboard); silver medallist (2011 Shanghai: 3m springboard; 2015 Kazan: 3m springboard); bronze medallist (2015 Kazan, 1 m springboard)

Asian Games champion (2010 Guangzhou, 3 m springboard)

Universiade champion (2011 Shenzhen, 3 m springboard)