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The Women's Sports Alliance


Champion Chen Yiwen on handling pressure as Chinese diving star

Follow Chen Yiwen’s journey on Insta

Chen Yiwen is the current ‘gold girl’ of the Chinese diving team and those who follow the sport know that is an achievement not too far short of Olympic champion status - such is the strength in depth of the nation’s talent.

For context, her countrymen and women have won 38 of the 48 Olympic gold medals this century, stretching across six Games.

Attaining that official ‘Olympic champion’ title will have to waiting until Paris 2024, but the 23-year-old is already a three-time World gold medallist and keen to maintain China’s diving domination.

The secrets to their success are well guarded with, but Chen Yiwen gave the Women’s Sports Alliance (WSA) a rare insight into her life as she travelled to Europe for the Fina Diving World Cup in Berlin.

Q – What motivates and drives you to compete at the top level of your sport?

Chen Yiwen competes at the Budapest 2022 World Championships - courtesy of Fina.

“Haha, I love the feeling like of winning! Basically even when I was young, as a little girl and playing games I would want to win, even when I was playing cards with my dad, I just loved it!”

Q – How did you decide that diving was the sport for you?

“I was always very sporty, but the idea of diving came from my mum’s friend whose daughter was a diver.

“She took me there from a young age and when I was nine, around the time of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, I was selected for the a sports school (in Guangdong) and I’ve always found it fun.”

Q – Do you ever get nervous and what is it like competing for China who have achieved so much success in the sport for decades?

“Oh, I’m always going to get nervous! It's like, when you actually care about this, you will get those nerves and feelings in your stomach.

I try to calm myself down and try to focus just on my dive in that moment and then refocus for the next and the next each time.

“Competing for China, yes there is definitely pressure because they are the greatest team in diving and there is an incredible legacy, so of course that brings pressure and expectation but it’s about how you deal with it.

“I use it as motivation to go further.”

Q – What do you see as your proudest moment, or greatest achievement in the sport so far?

“I would say it was last season, at the World Championships (where she won individual and synchronised 3m springboard gold medals),” she tells the WSA.

“I had won at the Tokyo World Cup the year before but it was just me standing there for my country (as there were no spectators due to Covid-19 restrictions), so the World Championships (in Budapest) was the first time really for the country to meet me as the new girl in the team and it was a big step in my career.

“It made me proud to win, but was a step because there is a lot that I want to achieve in the next two years and I take all that pressure as a good thing.”

Q – Why is diving a good sport for women to be involved with?

Then and now. Chen Yiwen’s talent for diving was discovered at a young age.

“Diving is a great sport for so many reasons and for woman, well because guys can do it, then why not us too of course!

“I think it shows a woman's beauty in some different ways on the springboard, or the platform and it is a skill which is great to master. That allows you to express your strength and technique, which is something that as I say, I love to show.

“For me, I hope I can be a great like a good role model for the next generation in China and I try to do a great job, the best job I can.”


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