Guo Jingjing (CHN)
2016 Honor Diver
FOR THE RECORD: 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES: silver (3m synchro, 3m individual); 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (3m synchro, 3m individual); 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (3m synchro, 3m individual); 1998 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (3m individual); 2001 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (3m individual, 3m synchro); 2003 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (3m individual, 3m synchro); 2005 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (3m individual, 3m synchro); 2007 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (3m individual, 3m synchro); 2009 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (3m individual, 3m synchro); 1998 ASIAN GAMES: gold (3m individual); 2002 ASIAN GAMES: gold (3m individual, 3m synchro); 2006 ASIAN GAMES: gold (3m synchro); 2001 SUMMER UNIVERSIADE: gold (1m individual, 3m individual, platform synchro); 2003 SUMMER UNIVERSIADE: gold (3m synchro), silver (1m individual, 3m individual); 2005 SUMMER UNIVERSIADE: gold (1m individual, 3m synchro)
She enjoyed a very normal childhood growing up in the city of Baoding in the province of Hebei, until 1988, when a diving scout visited her school. The scout asked the students if anyone wanted to learn how to dive and Guo Jingjing eagerly volunteered, believing she was signing up for swimming.
After realizing her mistake, she found she liked the challenge and grew to enjoy the training. Eventually she developed the goal of competing and winning a gold medal. She proved not only to be incredibly gifted, but fearless and focused.
Eight years later, at the age of 14, Guo made her Olympic debut at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, finishing fifth on the 10-meter platform event. After those Games, her coach Yu Fenwhen, retired and Jingjing came under the tutelage of Zhou Jihong, China’s first Olympic diving gold medalist.
Under Zhou, she moved from the tower to the spring board at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia and won silver medals in both the 3-meter springboard and 3-meter synchronized diving events with partner, Fu Mingxia.
After the 2000 Games, her partner Fu Mingxia retired. Guo then paired up with Wu Mingxia and did not miss a beat. Enduring grueling training sessions, sometimes lasting six to eight hours a day, she won double gold medals at five FINA World Championships and two Olympic Games between 2001and 2009.
In front of a hometown crowd in Beijing, in the Summer of 2008, Guo Jingjing became the most decorated female Olympic diver and tied fellow Chinese athlete, Fu Mingxia and Americans Pat McCormick and Greg Louganis with the most individual Olympic diving gold medals (four). In the synchronized event, defending champions Jingjing and Wu Mingxia led the entire competition, capturing the gold medal in their homeland.
With nothing else to prove, she, like fellow 2016 honoree Aaron Peirsol, announced her retirement in 2011, leaving the London Olympic Games to younger talents on her team.
Instead of London, Guo Jingjing was married in 2012 and now has one son, Lawrence. The family lives peacefully in Hong Kong, where Jingjing continues her career as a model and celebrity spokeswoman.