The Sport Award 2016: Chris Mears
Introducing Chris Mears, Olympic and Commonwealth gold medal winner and recipient of the 2016 Winq Sport Award, presented by Olympian rower Matt Lister at our 2016 awards luncheon, supported by United Airlines.
The scar Chris Mears bears, on the centre-line of a chiselled torso, is a badge of honour. It reminds him he was minutes from death when his spleen ruptured as a teenager, with his doctor rating survival chances at five per cent. Having beaten the odds, he hasn’t wasted time since. He has squeezed into tiny swimwear for Winq, and proved a vocal supporter of the gay community (and team-mate Tom Daley). At the Rio Olympics last summer, with dive partner Jack Laugher, he won gold in the three-metre syncro diving. When the Daily Mail sneered at their winning embrace as less than “manly”, Mears retorted: “Men should hug.”
Chris on that green pool:
“The swamp pool! It was OK. It tasted fine! Here’s the thing, though. In your Olympic dream, the sky is blue, the pool is blue. And then you get up and the sky’s grey, it’s raining, it’s windy, and the pool is green. What are you going to do? It definitely threw one or two of our rivals, for sure. But I knew what I was doing, and so did Jack.”
Chris on his sexuality and those gay rumours:
“Whatever, really. I’ve said to you previously that everyone needs to be who they truly are in order to be the best that they can be. If I, or Jack, get uptight about that kind of thing, then what does it say about your readers, or our mate Tom [Daley]? That we should be cross because someone says we’re gay? Don’t think so.”
Chris on staying focused during the diving final:
“The weather, the pool, the Mexican team protesting half-way through because some lights came on and they wanted a re-dive, which delayed us, all these things could have been excuses if we’d missed out.
“But we had our structure. We’d even each selected a six-track playlist, one song between each dive, so in the three minutes between routines we had clear minds. When we were delayed, we just kept repeating the loop: hot tub, shower, dry, track 4, warm up, Mexicans still protesting… When the fuss was over, we were where we planned to be.”
Congratulations to Chris Mears, the winner of the 2016 Winq Sport Award! Pick up your copy of Winq Winter 2016, out now, to read the full eight-page feature, along with all the other interviews with our Men of the Year.