Wu Minxia Wins Gold; Only Then Told Her Grandparents Had Died & Mom Has Cancer
I know the Chinese are serious about their athletics, but this is crazy and some would consider it inhumane. I don’t care what I was training for I would want to know if my mother had cancer and my grandparents passed away.
I don’t think the Gold Medal is worth not knowing that information.
After her gold, Wu’s father admitted to the Shanghai Morning Post that he had been hiding some bad news from her: 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’,” Wu’s father Wu Jueming told the paper. Wu’s parents found such lies were “essential” to ensure their daughter could keep focused on her training, the Shanghai Daily said. “We never talk about family matters with our daughter,” the father said.
Wu’s life seems to reinforce all our worst stereotypes about the Chinese Olympic program. Now 26, Wu began attending daily diving camp at six years old. At 16, she left home to live in a government-sponsored training facility, where she rarely saw her family, didn’t attend school—didn’t do anything but dive, all day, over and over again for this last decade.
Her parents only kept up with her life by following her Weibo account, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. Said her father,
“We’ve known for years that our daughter doesn’t belong to us any more.”
That is wild, I understand sacrifice, but basically to hand over you kid to the government, I could never do that.