If Monique Gladding is looking for a new career path after retiring from diving, then a future in penning fairy tales possibly awaits her.
After all, Sheffield-based Gladding has had her fair share of ups and downs since arriving from South Africa back in 2000. The 31-year old has had to contend with long-standing injuries and even a near death experience before finally achieving her goal of competing in the Olympic Games this summer, in the country where she has called home for the last 12 years.
Her appearance in London was made all the more remarkable after her horrific accident whilst competing in Russia in February 2011. After an inward dive attempt went horribly wrong, only quick intervention by fellow diver Nick Robinson-Baker and her husband and coach Steve Gladding saved her. The road back to competitive diving was a long and arduous one and it culminated in Gladding qualifying for Games during the trials at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge (ironically her training base).
The decision to bring down the curtain on her career was officially revealed on Tuesday evening, via the social networking site Twitter, with Gladding saying: “I will look back on these 12 years with such fondness & hold onto the memories forever.”
Gladding’s final act in the sport was to see her miss out on qualifying for the semi-finals of the 10m platform event, but that will not matter in the grand scheme of things. The fact she returned to competitive diving after such an incident and achieve her goal of becoming an Olympian, shows the mental strength she possesses.