The alleged verbal abuse of a diving official at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has put a microscope on the supposed unethical behavior of current FINA Vice President and former Chinese Olympic gold medalist Zhou Jihong.
After Diving New Zealand issued a complaint on behalf of official Lisa Wright following the conclusion of last year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, where Wright alleged Zhou verbally abused her upon the completion of the men’s platform diving final, a whistleblower stepped forward and filed a much lengthier complaint against Zhou.
The report, filed by former New Zealand diver and current FINA Diving Technical Committee member Simon Latimer, alleges that Zhou uses her power to influence and manipulate diving results, namely to ensure the success of the Chinese divers competing.
Latimer also said that Zhou has been seen on deck at both the Tokyo Olympics and other high-level FINA events coaching the Chinese divers prior to and during the competition, highly unethical behavior for someone in her position at FINA.
A video of Zhou coaching a Chinese diver during the Tokyo Olympics has since come to light, confirming one of the claims made by Latimer.
Watch the video below or at streamable.com here:
In response to the allegations made by Wright, Zhou was required to issue her a formal apology, which she accepted. FINA’s Ethics Panel also proposed the removal of the Bureau Liasion Person, the position held by Zhou at the time of the incident.
FINA has yet to respond to Latimer’s claims, and reportedly told Kiwi outlet Stuff that Zhou can’t be investigated for the same complaint twice, garnering Latimer’s allegations moot.
Zhou, 57, was China’s first-ever Olympic gold medalist in diving, having won the 1984 title in the women’s platform event. She was voted as one of FINA’s five vice presidents in June at the FINA General Congress 2021 in Doha, Qatar.
The FINA Ethics Panel was formed in 2017, and the members for the 2021-2025 term were elected at the General Congress in June.