The prodigious Fu Mingxia reaped four gold medals between 1992 and 2000
Her primary concern now is her three children — two sons and a daughter. A dutiful home-maker, 34-year-old Fu Mingxia is having her hands full taking care of her husband Antony Leung, an investment banker, who was the former Financial Secretary to the Hong Kong Government, and their three kids.
However, on and off, Fu, the winner of four Olympic gold medals, endorses certain products and does a few promotional activities highlighting issues close to her heart. Late last year, Fu travelled to South China’s Guizhou Province to draw people’s attention to the poverty-stricken residents of these areas in an effort to raise funds and support them.
At her peak, Fu seldom found time for activities other than diving. Having to leave home (Wuhan) to train in Beijing under the legendary Yu Fen at a tender age of nine years, Fu’s hard work and sacrifices paid off when she (as a 13-year-old, youngest-ever) clinched the gold in 10m platform of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Defending an Olympic title is a feat in itself. Fu achieved the distinction by bagging gold in the 10m platform event of the 1996 Barcelona Olympics. Fu won the 3m springboard event as well at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Centre. Her near-flawless technique aided by hours of practice made her a special and unique diver.
There emerged a phase in her career when she got sick and tired of praises that came her way mainly due to the hectic training schedule. Frustrated, Fu moved away from the sport to enrol for a course at the Tsinghua University. Even as she was enjoying a relaxed life at the University, Fu felt the itch to get back to swimming.
On her comeback at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Fu told Time magazine in jest, “I’m old and a little fat now. I’m yesterday’s news”.
In reality, it was anything but true. The 22-year-old dazzled the world-wide audience with a gold in the 3m springboard and a silver in the synchronised swimming disciplines.
For a diver to take her debut Olympics (Barcelona) in 1992 by storm and to bid goodbye on a high with a first place finish in 2000 (Sydney) is not an everyday happening. In 2005, Fu was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
The all-time great diver recently said, “All I need to do is to get on with my life, taking care of my family and helping people in need”.
There’s little doubt that Fu will continue to excel in her new role too.