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Fourth-Place Medal

Was Chinese diver Wu Minxia’s sacrifice worth her many gold medals?

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Chinese diver Wu Minxia won gold on the 3m springboard on Sunday. Earlier in the week, she won gold in synchronized 3m, adding to her collection of gold from Athens and Beijing, plus a silver and a bronze from those games. Her final tally for five dives was 414, besting the silver medalist by 34.20 points, and the bronze medalist by a whopping 51.6 points.

She is the best diver in a generation, but much of the discussion around this week Wu has focused on the sacrifices her family made for her to get to the top of the podium so many times. They rarely get to see her or speak to her. They didn't tell her about her grandparents' death or her mother's bout with cancer.

Now, her two golds appear to validate the decision made by her family to not tell her everything, and by the coaches who surround her. It's a system that has achieved results for the Chinese. Winning is said to cure all ails. China is neck and neck with the U.S. in the medal count, quickly becoming the first country to challenge the U.S. since the break-up of the U.S.S.R.

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All Olympians make sacrifices to get to their goal. Moving away from family at a young age, missing out on holidays, weddings, and other family events, working through pain and putting lives on hold are all regular happenings in the lives of Olympians.

But did Wu sacrifice too much? It's not something you, or I, or her coach or even her parents can decide. It's something only she can know. When she looks at her gold medals and reads her accolades, it is hers alone to know if it was worth it.

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