Four-time Olympian’s test: Melissa Wu faces SAS challenge

PARRAMATTA’S four-time Olympian Melissa Wu has well and truly dived in the deep end as a contestant on the blockbuster SAS Australia Show on Channel 7 and 7plus.

And the Olympic diver won’t be letting her diminutive size  stand in her way as she takes on a hot field of sporting and celebrity contestants in the top rating program.

After all, she won four Commonwealth Games gold medals and was full of determination in an all-new sneak peek of the 2022 season of SAS Australia, which started on February 21 on Channel 7 and 7plus.

 “I am the person that won’t give up,” the legendary athlete said. 

Melissa’s training base has been the Sydney Olympic Pool at Homebush where she first gazed in wonder as a young spectator at the world’s best divers in the 2000 Olympics

 At just over five feet tall or 153cm, Melissa has enjoyed success in her 19-year diving career, including Olympic Silver, Olympic Bronze, Commonwealth Gold and Commonwealth Silver medals.

But in distressing scenes, it seems Melissa may have met her match on the SAS course, as she’s seen slamming head first into the ground while exiting a gassing drill, with Chief Instructor Ant Middleton calling for medical assistance. 

“I may not be the tallest or the strongest,” she said. “But what matters is that you keep bouncing back.”

 Melissa is one of 17 Aussie celebrities embarking on a life-changing experience – a grueling series of physical and psychological tests from the rest SAS selection process. 

These Aussie celebrities are cut off from the outside world at a brand-new base in unforgiving jungle terrain, bordered by wild seas, dramatic cliff faces and rugged rocky outcrops. 

There, they  eat, sleep and train together in punishing conditions, with no allowances or exceptions made for their celebrity status or gender. 

Guiding recruits through the most grueling course yet is Ant Middleton and returning DS Ollie Ollerton, joined for the first time by retired US Navy SEAL Clint Emerson and former British Special Forces soldier Dean Stott. 

They will push Melissa and her fellow celebrities beyond their limits, subjecting them to extreme physical endurance, sleep deprivation, interrogation and psychological testing. Some recruits will reach breaking point and withdraw.

Melissa hopes to have the mental strength to tough it out to the end. 

Melissa started her diving career at Parramatta Diving Club at 10 years of age. She relocated to Brisbane with her family a few years later where she was accepted into the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).

She begun training under her coach Xiangning Chen and was able to learn a senior list of dives at the age of 13 after just one year in the program.

Melissa defeated the reigning Olympic gold and bronze medalists in her first ever senior competition to claim gold at Australian Open Championships and qualified for her first Commonwealth Games at the age of 13. She teamed up with Alexandra Croak to win a silver medal at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, after just one week of training together.

Ten years later after a family tragedy, a return to Sydney and a bout of depression, interspersed with success at all levels, she appeared in her third Olympics in Rio. Then she backed it up with selection for the Tokyo Olympics, making her a rare four times Olympic rep.

Melissa has completed a Certificate IV in Business (Fashion) and  a Bachelor of Commerce as well as a Certificate IV in Fitness. 

The star recruits attempting to pass selection on the new season of SAS Australia are: 

 Anna Heinrich, 34 – TV Personality.

Barry Hall, 44 – AFL Great.

Darius Boyd, 34 – Retired NRL Star.

Ebanie Bridges, 35 – Professional Boxer.

Ellia Green, 28 – Rugby 7s Olympian.

Geoff Huegill, 42 – Olympic Swimming Legend.

Locky Gilbert, 32 – Reality TV Star. 

Melissa Tkautz, 47 – Singer / Actor.

Melissa Wu, 29 – Olympic Diver.

Michael Zerafa, 29 – Professional Boxer.

Millie Boyle, 23 – NRLW Player.

Orpheus Pledger, 28 – Actor.

Pauly Fenech, 51 – Comedian.

Riana Crehan, 34 – Motorsports Presenter.

Richard Buttrose, 49 – Convicted Drug Dealer.

Simone Holtznagel, 28 – Model.

Wayne Carey, 50 – AFL Commentator.

 

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