Imagine the journey an athlete must travel to qualify and compete in four Olympic Games. There are the trials, tribulations and jubilation that Melissa Wu experienced in the three years since the Tokyo 2020 Games to become the first Australian diver to compete in five Olympics. This is Wu's story, an extraordinary athlete who embodies perseverance and passion.

Image Source: Melissa Wu and Briony Cole diving their way to Olympic bronze in the Women's Synchronised 10m Platform at the Beijing 2008 Games (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The 32-year-old Penrith native began her diving career 22 years ago. It wasn’t that long after when, at the age of 16 years, Wu competed at her first Olympics in Beijing 2008 where she won a silver medal alongside Briony Cole in the women's 10m synchronized event. Since Beijing 2008, she has been on every Australian Olympic Team.

“Competing at my first Olympics in Beijing was a dream come true. However, Tokyo 2020 and winning a bronze individual medal at the 10m event was particularly special, as it reflects years of overcoming challenges and personal growth.”

Image Source: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

After Tokyo 2020, Wu took some time to focus on synchronized diving and career opportunities outside of sports.

“The transition wasn't easy, but it was a necessary break that allowed for personal growth and reflection.”

This February at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Wu secured a quota spot for Australia. She then won the Australian trials, marking the beginning of her journey to the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Battling Injuries and Finding Strength

Image Source: Melissa Wu in the Women's 10m Platform Final at the World Aquatics Championships - Doha 2024 (Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Wu's journey to the Paris 2024 Olympics highlights the physical challenges of diving. Earlier this year in Doha, Wu competed while battling disc bulges in her neck and a knee injury. After competing in Doha, Wu had two cortisone injections.

“The path to the Olympics is rarely smooth. Since Tokyo, injuries have been a constant companion. My support system developed a training plan that prioritised recovery and injury management,” said Wu. “Visualisation techniques, mental training, and a tailored physical regimen became essential tools in overcoming these hurdles.”

Image Source: Melissa Wu competes with Charli Petrov in the Women's Synchronized 10m Platform finals at the World Aquatics Championships - Budapest 2022 (David Balogh/World Aquatics)

Despite facing significant challenges, Wu remains committed to performing at the highest level. She’s driven by the love of diving and the pursuit of excellence.

“Now, with eyes set on the Paris Olympics, the goal is to deliver a performance that reflects the best abilities and free from disappointments of past injuries.”

Evolution of Wu’s Training over 22 years

Image Source: Training time with Melissa Wu at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Training has evolved significantly over the years for Wu.

“Early in my career, the focus was on intense, high-volume training,” Wu said. “As the years of experience progressed and the body aged, the approach had to adapt to more of a conditioning, strength, and rehab exercises to prevent injuries and ensure longevity in sports.”

One asks: ‘What keeps an athlete motivated through countless challenges?’

“It is the setting and achieving of new goals. Each obstacle is seen as an opportunity for growth and learning. The drive to overcome self-doubt, prove detractors wrong, and achieve personal milestones fuels consistent performance and boosts self-confidence.”

“I always have high-performance goals in mind because I always aim high; I have been able to maintain them for a long time.”

When to Watch Wu Compete | The Australian's Paris 2024 Competition Programme

Image Source: Melissa Wu poses with her Paris ticket during Australia's 2024 Olympic Games Diving Squad Announcement in Brisbane, Australia (Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Wu will take to the tower in Paris at the Olympic Aquatics Centre on the morning of 5 August for the Women’s 10m preliminary round. The event semifinals follow in the afternoon, with the finals taking place in the afternoon of 6 August.