Call it the Summer (Olympics) of love: He Zi of China was standing on the podium after receiving a silver medal for diving in Rio Sunday when her boyfriend, fellow diver Qin Kai, pulled out a ring and proposed marriage. It’s the second proposal of the Rio Games.
Moments before Sunday’s proposal, He had been dueling teammate and world champion Shi Tingmao for the gold medal in the 3m springboard final. It was shortly after the medal presentation that Qin – who owns gold medals from previous Olympics and has won bronze here in Rio – seized the moment.
“We are dating now for over 6 years and I didn’t know he would do this proposal,” He said, according to the Federation Internationale de Natation, which oversees diving.
With tears and a hug, He accepted Qin’s proposal.
We’ve seen another version of events from He, a 25-year-old who lives in Beijing, that’s a bit more lively. Here it is, from Reuters:
“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.”
The proposal took place at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre in Rio. If you’re wondering how the dramatic moment struck the other athletes on the podium with He – her teammate Shi, along with bronze medalist Tania Cagnotto of Italy – it turns out they already knew.
Shi said, “They have passed through a lot of things over the last years, and this is the perfect moment to do this proposal. I am very happy for both of them.”
Cagnotto says, “Shi Tingmao knew about the surprise before the medal ceremony and told me, so I was informed. Anyway, it was a very nice moment.”
The proposal is the second that we’ve heard about at the Rio Summer Olympics. Last week, Marjorie Enya, the girlfriend of Brazilian rugby player Isadora Cerullo asked Cerullo to marry her after a match between New Zealand and Australia.
On that occasion, Enya, who’s part of the staff at the games, coordinated the moment with friends who held heart-shaped balloons as she and Cerullo embraced.
“As soon as I knew she was in the squad I thought I have to make this special,” Enya told BBC Sport afterwards. “I know rugby people are amazing and they would embrace it.”