chinese athletes

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Chinese diver Wu Minxia took gold in the 3m synchronized springboard in London this week, becoming the first woman in history to win three consecutive Olympic golds.

But shortly after she finished competing, Minxia's father reinforced China's win-at-any-cost mentality when he dropped a couple of bombshells on his daughter via the Shanghai Morning Post: Both her grandparents had died over a year ago, and her mother had battled breast cancer for eight years.

Wu called us after her grandmother died, I gritted my teeth and told her: "Everything's fine, there aren't any problems."

Minxia's parents found such lies were "essential" to ensure their daughter could keep focused on her training. She'd left home at 16 to live at a government-sponsored diving facility.

We never talk about family matters with our daughter. We accepted a long time ago that she doesn't belong entirely to us. I don't even dare to think about things like enjoying family happiness.