Her silver streak wouldn’t cease there as, a year later, Melissa placed second in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in the synchronised 10-metre, along with Briony Cole. This accolade made the then-16-year-old the youngest Aussie to win an Olympic medal in diving.
The Australian-Chinese athlete went on to place fourth in the 10-metre platform at the 2012 London Games, fifth at the 2016 Rio Games, and third at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Melissa’s accolades are a testament not only to her hard work and skill, but also to her capacity for resilience.
After suffering multiple injuries and the untimely death of her younger sister, Kirsten, in 2014, the SAS star contemplated quitting diving entirely.
"I did question whether or not it was worth it to keep going, a few times in my career," Melissa said, according to yahoo! sport, adding that she “doubted” herself.
For the Olympic medallist, diving ultimately “saved” her as she grieved for her sister, who passed from suicide.
"That was really, really tough for my family," Melissa said. "Diving kind of, I guess, saved me a bit. It gave me something to refocus on and keep going after that ... diving has always been the thing that has kept me grounded."
Melissa added that losing a loved one is never something you can "get over".
"Time just passes and you just get used to living with it."
Throughout her Olympic career, the memory of Melissa’s late sister has been a bittersweet beacon of strength for the diver.
"I definitely have been thinking about her," Melissa said during the 2016 Rio Games, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. "It's been really hard. I achieved something so big and to not be able to share it with someone you're that close to … I know she's always with me and I have her now in a way I didn't have before. I get to share this in a different way with her."
Melissa spoke about the ongoing grief that comes with losing a loved one in an essay for AthletesVoice in 2017, opening the candid entry with a reminder that loss doesn’t erase existence.
“You take with you everything you experienced with them,” the reality star penned.
“Kirsten is always a part of me. She lives inside me in the memories I carry around.”
If you or someone you know has been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, help is always available. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit their website.