It’s not everyday that you see an Olympian win a silver medal and a diamond ring on the same day. But it happened again on Sunday just after China’s He Zi received her silver medal during the medal ceremony for the women’s three-metre springboard event, as reported by BBC.
Qin Kai, 30, who himself won a bronze medal in the synchronized diving event last week, immediately climbed onstage after Zi received her silver medal, getting down on one knee and presenting her with a red box containing a diamond ring.
The crowd cheered as soon as they realized what was happening on the podium. The cheers got louder when He Zi solemnly nodded her assent to Qin’s proposal speech. Kai then slipped the ring on her finger and gave her a hug.
“I didn’t know he would propose today and I didn’t expect myself to marry myself out so early,” Zi told reporters after the awarding ceremony was concluded.
Zi recalled an awkward but adorable moment when she almost caught Zi rehearsing his proposal speech. Thankfully, Qin Kai did a nice save.
“I saw him during the afternoon and he seemed to be memorizing something, so I asked him ‘what are you doing?’ and he said he was singing,” Zi said.
Winning a silver medal and then receiving a proposal in a span of a few seconds understandably overwhelmed the female diver, so much so that she forgot most of what her boyfriend said during the proposal.
“I’ve forgotten most of what he’s said (during the proposal), but it’s largely what you can expect like promises, but what touched me the most is that he said he was willing to be bullied by me for life,” she said.
Zi, who brought with her the red rose container and her silver medal to the medalists’ news conference, described the experience in front of reporters.
“We’ve been dating for six years, but I didn’t expect him to propose today,” He said. “He said a lot of things, made a lot of promises, but I think the thing that touched me the most is I think this is the guy I can trust for the rest of my life.”
Shi Tingmao, the couple’s teammate who won the gold medal in the same event that Zi participated in, watched from her designated position on the podium looking genuinely happy for the couple as she cheered them on. She told reporters that she already knew Qin’s proposal plan even before the competitions started.
“Both of them have gone through a lot,” she said. “It’s a great moment. Qin said it best, ‘This is the way it’s supposed to be.'”
Shi and He were tied after competing for two rounds before Shi grabbed the lead on her third dive.
Italy’s Cagnotto, who won bronze at the event, also seemed happy for the couple.
“I was really happy for those two,” she said. “It’s a really great moment to ask her to marry him.”
The proposal hasn’t been received well by everyone, as there are some who pointed out that Kai’s gesture upstaged He’s glorious silver medal win. Some pointed out that to have your boyfriend “steal your thunder” after years of training and hard work would be nothing short of annoying.
I'd be so annoyed! Years of training and then your boyfriend decides to steal your thunder. https://t.co/PPFrLjNxpL— Victoria Fritz (@VFritzNews) August 15, 2016
China’s Twitter-like Weibo service is also split between two factions over the proposal. While some are calling the gesture “sweet and romantic,” others said that it only added pressure on the silver medalist.
“What a way to add pressure to her, having the entire world watch her as she makes such a private and life-changing decision,” one Weibo user said.
Do you think Qin Kai’s proposal to He Zi was ill-timed? Feel free to share your thoughts below.
[Photo by Wong Maye-E/AP Photo]