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China’s five-time Olympic champion Chen Ruolin retires at 23

BEIJING (AFP) – 

China’s five-time Olympic champion diver Chen Ruolin has retired aged just 23 due to a neck injury, she announced, bringing one of the sport’s most spectacular careers to an early halt.

Chen took home five golds in three Olympics, most recently winning the women’s 10 metre synchronised platform in Rio in August.

She announced her retirement in a post on her verified Weibo social media account.

“When this day arrived I never thought it would be so tranquil,” she wrote, adding that complications from a neck injury “make it impossible to continue”.

“So, I choose to retire. Thanks everyone for your care and support,” she added in the post on Wednesday.

Chen, one of only three Chinese athletes to win five Olympic golds, began diving aged four, joined the elite national team at 11, and made her first Olympic appearance at Beijing 2008 when she was 15.

In her first and second Olympic games, she took gold in the women’s synchronised and individual 10 metre platform events.

She has since become one of the most successful divers of all time. For the last 10 years, she won every synchronised 10 metre platform gold at the Olympics, world championships, and FINA Diving World Cup.

But in recent years she has struggled with injuries and fluctuating form, placing fourth in the 2013 National Games.

She also grew bored with the gruelling training and competition regimen, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

“Thank you to my family who supported me all these years, and finally, thanks to diving,” she wrote.

Chinese divers won seven out of eight gold medals at the Rio Games in what is one of the country’s most successful Olympic sports.

© 2016 AFP

Article source: http://www.france24.com/en/20161020-chinas-five-time-olympic-champion-chen-ruolin-retires-23