August 6, 2019 / 11:25 PM / 3 months ago

Diving: Britain's Olympic champion Mears retires to follow music career

FILE PHOTO: Diving - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games - Men's Synchronised 3m Springboard Medal Ceremony - Optus Aquatic Centre - Gold Coast, Australia - April 13, 2018. Gold medallists Jack Laugher and Chris Mears of England pose on the podium. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

(Reuters) - Britain’s first Olympic diving champion Chris Mears, who won gold with his 3m springboard synchronised partner Jack Laugher, has retired from competition to pursue his music career.

The 26-year-old, who claimed the country’s first Olympic gold medal in diving alongside Laugher at the Rio Olympics in 2016, had taken a break from the sport late last year.

"What a journey," Mears, who is now a music producer and DJ, wrote on Instagram here on Tuesday. "My road was certainly bumpy. But in order to get to something from nothing, you need to work hard, keep improving, and never give up."

In 2009, Mears was given a 5% chance of survival after suffering a ruptured spleen but that proved to be the turning point in his life and three years later he was competing at the London Olympics.

Mears and Laugher retained the Commonwealth Games 3m springboard synchro title in 2018 and won silver at the European Championships in Glasgow in their final event as a pair.

Laugher, 24, now dives with Dan Goodfellow and the pair won silver at the world championships last month.

Mears, who with Laugher also won bronze at the 2015 worlds and gold at the 2016 European Championships, put out his first single ‘Mexico’ in 2015 and is planning further releases and collaborations over the coming months.

“I’m now working full time in the music industry,” he added on Instagram.

“I’ve had a (diving) career full of amazing memories, friendships and experiences I’ll always look back on and smiled. I’ve learned lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my life.”

Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Nick Mulvenney

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