2012 Olympics: Wu Minxia's Family Kept Secrets from Chinese Diver

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Wu Minxia became the first diver in Olympic history to win gold medals in three straight Olympics. But her celebration was marred after finding out her parents kept secrets from her for years, including her grandparents' death and her mother's ongoing battle with lung and breast cancer.

Wu's parents chose not tell these secrets until she had secured the gold medal in the 3-meter springboard event, fearing the harsh news would interfere with her Olympic training.

Wu's fatherWu Yuming felt not "It was essential to tell this white lie."

Now, whether you agree with Wu's parents decision to hide this information with her or not, this is not a white lie. This is a serious issue – a family member's death.

Wu is 26 years old, a fully grown adult, capable of making her own decisions and dealing with difficulties 'like a big girl.' With Wu having two previous Olympic appearances under her belt, everything that goes into Olympic preparation wasn't new for Wu.

Wu may have a special case. Perhaps her parents think she cannot handle any obstacles, but that is unlikely, considering Olympians go through all types of trials and tribulations in their journeys to greatness.

Wu's parents know her best. I have never met her but, either way, Wu did not get her say on the topic: Wu did not talk to the press at all, with her parents supplying the quotes and representing Wu's thoughts inYahoo's article.

China has had a long history of prioritizing athletic success over everything else, with mixed results. Athletes often train hours a day, and the best quit school to devote their full time efforts to government backed specialized athletic programs.

Wu followed that path by began training daily at a diving camp at the age of 6 and moved to a government aquatic sports insitute at 16 years old.

But the win-at-all-costs attitude does have its negatives, including sacrificing personal time and happiness.

"We accepted a long time ago that she doesn't belong entirely to us," Wu Yuming told the Shanghai Morning Post. "I don't even dare to think about things like enjoying family happiness."

China's citizens have limited freedom of press, as evident with the recent release of the Chinese doping scandal that occurred in the '80s and '90s. Following the release internet searches for ''china'' and ''sports doping'' were blocked in Beijing, while a search for ''drugs'' coupled with the names of prominent athletes identified by the doctor who broke the scandal resulted in the internet connection being temporarily severed.

However, the Chinese government has come under criticism after only sending messages of congratulations to gold medal winners, leaving silver and bronze medal winners in the dark.

"It is too narrow to look at the Olympics purely through the prism of medals," said an editorial in the China Business News publication. "It is also about sweat, tears, hardships … peace, freedom, and justice."

This is a sad state of affairs in China, but it is unlikely any change will happen in the near future.


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