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A Tokyo Olympics diving judge says she was left in tears after a Chinese official screamed in her face

Barnaby Lane   

A Tokyo Olympics diving judge says she was left in tears after a Chinese official screamed in her face
  • Olympic diving judge Lisa Wright claims she was abused by FINA's vice-president in Tokyo.
  • The New Zealander says Zhou Jihong attacked her for allegedly underscoring Chinese divers.

An Olympic diving judge has claimed she was left in tears at Tokyo 2020 after being abused by the vice-president of the International Swimming Federation (FINA), Zhou Jihong.

Lisa Wright, an elite-level diving judge from New Zealand, told CNN Sport that Zhou attacked her, claiming that she had given Chinese divers in the men's 10-meter platform final lower scores than they deserved.

Chinese divers Cao Yuan and Yang Jian won gold and silver respectively in the event, ahead of Britain's Tom Daley.

"She was on poolside screaming at me and yelling at me," Wright told CNN. "It was definitely one of the most humiliating experiences of my life."

"I just said I'm sorry you feel that way and I left and ended up crying in the bathroom, which was definitely not how you want to end your premier event of the Olympics," Wright added.

"It was pretty traumatic for me, to be honest, especially given the fact that everyone knows that she's the vice president of FINA."

Following the incident in Tokyo, Diving New Zealand (DNZ) and Wright lodged an official to complaint to FINA against Zhou on the grounds of harassment and abuse.

After the conclusion of a FINA Ethics Panel judgement in November, Zhou was ordered to apologize to Wright but FINA said there was not enough evidence to sustain the complaints.

In March, however, it was then revealed to Inside the Games that a separate complaint had also been made by a whistleblower, who at the time had asked to remain anonymous.

The whistleblower has since come forward as New Zealander Simon Latimer, a former diver and judge and now a member of FINA's Diving Technical Committee (TDC).

In a letter to FINA's executive director Brent Nowicki, Latimer accused Zhou of "unethical behavior" which he says stretches back several years and "compromises the integrity of both diving and FINA," reports CNN Sport.

Latimer claimed in the letter that Zhou has routinely coached Chinese divers during major events, including in Tokyo, and has manipulated judging panels in order to benefit Chinese athletes, while he also detailed Zhou's "personal outburst" against Wright.

"Part of making this complaint is to ensure that an incident like that never happens again," Latimer told CNN Sport. "There's a lot of things to consider around athlete welfare, but we also need to consider the welfare of officials."

On Zhou's alleged coaching of Chinese athletes in Tokyo, of which video footage has since emerged, Latimer said: "It's absolutely unethical.

"If you are up coaching divers from your own nation, I don't see how you could be viewed as a neutral party. I also can't think of any other sport where you would have a vice president on pool deck coaching and having such an open interest in the proceedings."

Latimer told CNN Sport that he has been told by FINA that the governing body won't look into the issues he raised in his whistleblower complaint because they were already considered during the previous complaint submitted by Wright and DNZ.

"People are scared stiff, they're petrified of rocking the boat and losing their position," Latimer said, adding that he believes the issues are being "swept under the carpet."

Zhou, who has been dubbed the "Iron Lady" of Chinese diving, became the country's first ever Olympic gold medalist in the sport in 1984.

She went on to coach the national team from 1990 to 1997 and is now the chair of the Chinese Swimming Association alongside being FINA's vice-president.

FINA did not immediately reply to Insider's request for comment about Latimer's claims.


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