It has been reported that Edna Child, the oldest Olympian from Britain still alive, has away at the age of 100.
Despite having a phobia of heights, Child competed in diving at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. She later won the British Empire Games.
A post on the Team GB’s Twitter account read: “Condolences to the family and friends of 1948 diving Olympian Edna Child, who passed away in May.
“Aged 100, Edna was Britain’s oldest living Olympian.”
Condolences to the family and friends of 1948 diving Olympian Edna Child, who passed away in May.
Aged 100, Edna was Britain's oldest living Olympian. pic.twitter.com/JhHhirLADp
— Team GB (@TeamGB) June 9, 2023
At an early age, Child was diagnosed with empyema and spent much of her childhood undergoing operations.
Following one serious operation, she was advised to be careful not to over-exert herself.
Child ignored this advice and took up swimming, then subsequently diving.
“I started to do diving, but I was a bit of a coward at first because I didn’t like heights!”
Child, who was only 15 years old when she won the bronze medal at the European Championships in 1938 in London, had a bright athletic career that was put on hold when she enlisted in the military during World War II.
After her career picked up, she placed sixth in London in 1948 but triumphed in the springboard and platform events at the 1950 British Empire Games in Auckland, which are now known as the Commonwealth Games.
Child hurt herself while practicing for the Olympics when she miscalculated the height of a new trampoline at the Highgate Diving Club’s new trampoline compared to an Olympic regulation springboard and performed a somersault on it.
Child fractured her instep bone, but her trainer stitched it up and allowed her to continue working out.
Child met her future husband Kin Tinegate sailing home from New Zealand, where he had competed in the rowing at the British Empire Games, winning a bronze in the double sculls.
In February 1950, Child announced her retirement from competitive diving, stating that she “shall go back to being a housewife” and that it was likely she would emigrate to Canada with her husband.
She announced her plans to emigrate in April 1950, having turned down “a very tempting offer” to remain in England as a professional, undertaking a diving tour of Great Britain over five months.
Child remained in the United Kingdom and in 1954 divorced her first husband, marrying Tinegate the same year and having two daughters with him.
Sadly, he died just four years after they got married in 1958 at the age of just 43.
Child never remarried.
“I’ve never met anybody like him, he was an incredible person,” she later said.
Her two gold medals from the British Empire Games were taken in a break-in at Child’s home in February 2013, along with a laptop and jewellery.
When Child arrived home from running errands, she discovered that house had been broken into and that the medals she had planned to give to her daughters had been stolen.
Child, who was born in West Ham, helped to publicize the 2016 European Aquatics Championships, which were held in London for the first time since 1938. That year, Child also earned a bronze medal.