Famous Female Athlete: Rachelle Simpson

Natalia Kreciglowa '18Assistant Sports Editor Rachelle Simpson is an American female high diver. At 27 years old, she is one of the most powerful female athletes of her time.            Simpson was raised by an athletic family. Her parents owned a gymnastics club, which helped to provide her with flexibility that would prove invaluable later in her career. “I was practically born in the gym,” she told CNN. “My mom went into labor in the gymnastics school, so ever since I could walk, I’ve been flipping, climbing on things.” Her love of gymnastics was evident as a child, and she practiced everyday, shaping herself into a disciplined athlete. She realized as a teenager that she would never go to the Olympics as a gymnast, so she joined the local boys’ diving team, which sparked a love for diving. She was finally in her element. Simpson decided to pursue diving as a career, and she worked as an acrobat and diver for a Chinese show called “The House of Dancing Water” for two years. In 2014, Red Bull announced that they wanted women for their cliff jumping series, so she auditioned and was quickly accepted. She was the star of the competition, winning all three events and becoming the Red Bull Cliff Diving Women’s World Champion. Simpson described in an interview with CNN what it was like to jump off of a 20-meter, or about 65 feet, high cliff. “Ten-meter divers can take pretty bad hits but for the most part can walk away. When you’re up on 20 meters or higher, there’s less room for error. During the dive, we can get up to about 55 miles per hour, and depending on entry, it can feel like you’re landing on concrete.” Simpson said that she does get a little scared each time she jumps. Over the years, she has mastered the art of remaining calm and said that counting down, visualization, prayer and deep breathing help her jump off the platform. In the 2015 season, she won gold at FINA World Championships in Russia. Later, she won the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Championships for the second time in front of over 55,000 fans. One hope she has for the future? She told CNN that she wishes the sport made its way into the Olympics, so that she can fulfill a dream she gave up on years ago. Rachelle Simpson ended her CNN interview saying, “My end goal is for younger girls to see this and know that women can do incredible things and to spread the word.” Simpson continues to practice and is currently gearing up for the 2016 diving season.