With lockdowns easing across the globe, and many people beginning to take those first tentative steps back to normality, we'll be catching up with some of our World Series cliff divers during these weeks to find out how life has been for them recently.
Today we're chatting to Romania's Constantin Popovici, who burst onto the cliff diving scene last year with a fourth-placed finish overall, despite missing three stops with a broken foot. The 31-year-old is also still a professional 10m diver, and has his sights set on glory in next year's rescheduled Olympic Games. Read on to find out how the lockdown has affected his training on both fronts.
Is there anything you have learned about yourself during the lockdown months? Any life lessons, emotions or experiences that you can take away from this period?
During this time at home and being forced to stop all my sports activities, I realised that a person like me will probably be involved in sport his entire life. It was very hard for me not being able to do sport and I know I was born for that.
Is there anything you took for granted before that you now truly appreciate?
I think I realized that life is so fragile and we have to be grateful for what we have on a daily basis.
What was the one thing you never stopped doing/didn't give up during the lockdown period? Why?
I never stopped training because I knew how hard it will be to get back in shape when everything gets back to normal. I did this once in my life and it took me three times longer to get back to where I was, so... I will never stop doing what I do, regardless of the situation.
What was the first thing you did once restrictions loosened up in your country?
Well, I went for proper training in the Olympic center near Bucharest, along with about 100 top athletes from Romania. Since I am competing in traditional diving as well with the main goal to quality for Tokyo next year, I am in the Olympic team of Romania and training like one. We went there for almost 3 weeks locked down.
What did you miss doing the most, and have you had the chance to do that again yet?
What I miss most is competing, especially cliff diving. Unfortunately it will take some time until I get to compete again but I look forward to that everyday.
How did the restrictions affect your training? Are you finding it easier to do now?
The only thing that really affected me was not being able to dive. I trained in my backyard. I was used to not having a pool, since I had this situation for many many years of my diving life; there was no pool in Bucharest where I'm from, I used to go to training camps before competitions. Once they open the pool again, I'm sure it will come naturally for me very fast.
What are you missing most about the World Series this summer?
I really miss the good vibes we have during the Series, everything is really relaxed for me and also the traveling in those wonderful places.
Are you keeping in touch with any of the other cliff divers?
Yes, from time to time we call each other or text, most of the time talking about cliff diving.
Dancefloor or platform – if you could be on one of these tomorrow, which would it be?
Definitely on a platform, I dont think im a very good dancer anyway!