Yona Knight-Wisdom becomes first Jamaican diver to qualify for the Olympics
Jamaican diver Yona Knight-Wisdom made history on February 21, 2016 when he became the first Jamaican diver to qualify for the Olympics which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August 2016.
Knight-Wisdom came in 17th place for his 3 meter-springboard dive at the 2016 FINA Diving World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, which qualified him for the Olympics.
In an interview with the Jamaican Gleaner, speaking on his monumental accomplishment, he said “I think that it should inspire people to try new things. Don’t be limited to what is normal and what is safe. Don’t be afraid to go against the odds. I am a 190-cm tall, 90-kg heavy, black diver. Watch a diving event and that is not something you will see very often. I’ve gone against the odds, with the faith and support of my family, coaches and teammates, and I’ve succeeded.”
Born in England, Knight-Wisdom began diving in 2004 after being spotted through a talent-identification program.
After struggling to break into the British team, Knight-Wisdom took the advice of his coach to represent one of his parents’ countries of birth.
Knight-Wisdom at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games
He decided to don the colours of his father’s country, and first represented Jamaica in 2012.
Knight-Wisdom joins other Jamaicans trying to get the island on the map for it’s water sport abilities. Fellow Jamaica swimmer Alia Atkinson became the first black woman to win a world swimming title when she triumphed in the 100m breaststroke at the world short-course championships in Doha in 2014. Atkinson placed 4th in the finals of the 2012 Olympics 100m women’s breast stroke finishing with a time of 1:06.93 and participated in both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.