Diving sensation Chris Mears has experienced - through personal loss and life threatening illness - more challenges than most. But Chris is not one to shy away from adversity. In fact, he says it only makes him stronger. And gold at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 is proof of that.
A positive mental attitude, not only in sport but I think just generally in life, is a person's biggest strength. I’m definitely a fighter. I have that spirit within me.Chris Mears, Olympic athlete
26-year-old Chris Mears is an Olympic gold and silver medallist, a pin-up boy for team GB and is a MBE. He is in an enviable position for someone so young, yet as an infant he lost his mother to cancer and in his teens nearly lost his life to illness. Adversity, above all else, has made him a fighter and a survivor.
It was a twist of fate that plunged Chris Mears into diving, as with gymnastics full, it was the only class available. He took to it like a duck to water and was soon tumbling into pools with the Reading Albatross Diving Club and the Southampton Diving Club.
In 2008, aged 15, Chris’s tally of medals - both in synchro and individual events - spoke of a young athlete on the up. But looking back, Chris says he was “not really trying very hard at school and not trying very hard at training; just bumming along”.
If I don't get better in the next ten seconds, there's something seriously wrong with me.Chris Mears, Olympic athlete
Then in 2009, while competing in the Youth Olympics in Sydney, he collapsed. His spleen had ruptured, he lost 5 pints of blood and after surgeons removed his spleen he slipped into a 3-day coma. He was given a 5% chance of survival and if he lived, doctors said he would never dive again.
Through sheer determination and the support of friends and family, Chris was competing within 18 months at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. He won gold, silver and bronze medals in national competitions in the same year and fought for and won a place on the GB squad for the Olympic Games London 2012. He finished 5th in synchro and 9th in individual competitions.
I think the biggest part of excelling and progressing is putting yourself out of your comfort zone and being prepared for changeChris Mears, Olympic athlete
With London in the bag, he set his sights on the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and won the first ever diving gold for Great Britain in the 3m synchro, as well as silver and gold at the British Championships in the same year.
“I think the biggest part of excelling and progressing is putting yourself out of your comfort zone and being prepared for change” says Chris. It was fate that put him out of his comfort zone and forced him to change, but it was his bolstered need to win, and support from family and friends that made him achieve his goals, no matter what.
1 Olympic gold Rio 2016
2 Commonwealth Games gold 2014, 2018
1 European Championships gold 2016
1 World Championships bronze 2015