Rio Olympian Woodward retires from competitive diving

Rio Olympian Woodward retires from competitive diving
By Sportsbeat

05/09/2018 at 11:07

Rio 2016 Olympian and reigning British champion Freddie Woodward has announced his decision to retire from competitive diving at the age of 23.

Woodward won gold in the 1m Springboard and 3m Synchro at the 2018 British Diving Championships but missed out on selection for this year's Commonwealth Games and European Championships.

The Sheffield-based athlete will not be giving up the sport completely however and has plans to join a diving show on a Caribbean cruise ship for the next six months.

Woodward's career high remains the Rio Olympic Games where he finished 19th in qualifying to miss out on a spot in the semi-finals by a single place.

"I have gone beyond where I ever thought I would get to as a diver – the Olympics was definitely a career highlight," he said.

"I never had that self-belief about where I could go with the sport, so the fact I got to go to Rio was amazing.

"During the qualifiers I just thought this is great, but I doubt I'll be going to the Games, even though it was definitely my place to take going in second behind Jack Laugher.

"But when I got home after securing my place in the Olympic team it just hit me the enormity of it. I just sat in the car and burst into tears.

"That experience changed my life. The fact I'm an Olympian, and always will be, has just given me so much confidence in myself.

"That and the European and Commonwealth medals – I never believed any of it was possible."

In his career, Woodward won a Commonwealth Games 3m Synchro bronze in Glasgow with Nick Robinson-Baker and repeated the feat in the Europeans in Kiev in 2017.

He made 12 senior international teams, which also included a World Cup, and Performance Manager for British Diving Kim White paid tribute to his achievements.

"It was always a delight to have Freddie on the team and he will be remembered for a very long time," she said.

"He successfully placed himself in the history books as a European Championships and Commonwealth Games Medallist and of course an Olympic Diver.

"There are thousands of divers that would love to have had such a successful diving career. I wish him all the luck with his future career and know he will be successful in whatever he chooses to do."

Sportsbeat 2018