Melissa Wu: ‘I am not hugely confident that it will get better’

Diving great Melissa Wu says she may need to consider an early retirement after competing on the reality TV series, SAS Australia.

Diving great Melissa Wu says she may need to consider an early retirement after injuring her back competing on reality TV series, SAS Australia.

The 29-year-old has spent the past five months since production wrapped trying to get better ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in July.

“I am managing it the best I can and push forward with diving but I have to be really careful about not pushing it too hard because then I’ll go backwards,” Wu told The Daily Telegraph.

Olympic diver Melissa Wu pictured at Sydney Olympic Park ahead of appearing on Seven reality TV show, SAS Australia. Picture: Toby Zerna
Olympic diver Melissa Wu pictured at Sydney Olympic Park ahead of appearing on Seven reality TV show, SAS Australia. Picture: Toby Zerna

“It is a fine line with how much I can push it so I am taking it day by day. I am not hugely confident that it will get better because it has been five months now. It is a physical issue but if it doesn’t get better, it becomes a mental challenge to try and overcome that.”

While the whole series is gruelling, Wu recalls clearly the exact moment she hurt her back.

It was during one of the brutal “beastings” where contestants on the reality show face “the imposition of arduous physical exercises for training or punishment, aimed at breaking or making the recruits”.

SAS Australia, launching Monday night on Seven, will see 17 contestants competing for selection on a military-style course.

“It is something that just happened that you couldn’t have predicted,” she said.

“It is all part of it. When you sign up for SAS, you know there is a risk you may be injured. There is a lot going on and everyone is fatigued and tired, doing everything under stress and exhaustion.”

Melissa Wu as she appears on SAS Australia.
Melissa Wu as she appears on SAS Australia.

A promo for the series shows Wu collapsing in another brutal tear gas challenge.

“I knew it was going to be full on,” she said. “I was pretty out of it. I am small but I am pretty tough though.”

Wu, 29, is one of our top athletes going into this year’s Commonwealth Games.

She won a bronze medal in the 10m platform dive in Tokyo last year and silver in the 10m synchronised platform in Beijing in 2008.

At the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018, Wu won gold in the 10m individual platform and eight years earlier in Delhi, gold in the 10m synchronised platform.

As for her back, Wu is realistic about her chances of healing the injury as she’s been doing weekly physio sessions.

Melissa Wu collapses on SAS Australia.
Melissa Wu collapses on SAS Australia.
Wu gets physical with another contestant.
Wu gets physical with another contestant.

“I’ve had disc problems in the past and so I think it is that but it has flared up a lot more than it normally does,” she said.

“I am trying to manage it the best I can. It has been trial and error with things that do and don’t work. The frustrating part is we are treating it the way we have in the past but it isn’t responding well so I am not really sure what will happen.”

She added: “At this point I am just taking it one step at a time. For the first time in my life I am focusing on short term and going from there.

“Comm Games is the main thing this year but we have got nationals in early June. I have to keep it simple in my head and if I make the team, awesome. The biggest priority is getting my back right and that will determine how long I can dive for.”

The star recruits attempting to pass selection on the new season of SAS Australia.
The star recruits attempting to pass selection on the new season of SAS Australia.

The 2024 Paris Olympics are way down on Wu’s list of things to focus on right now.

“I don’t want to retire based on this so I am pretty determined to push through it and figure out how I can get it better and good enough to compete. My goal for this year is to compete at the Commonwealth Games so I will be doing everything I can to get over this injury and get ready.”

Originally published as Melissa Wu: ‘I am not hugely confident that it will get better’

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