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China shows its diving prowess again
(Agencies)
Updated: 2004-08-17 06:25

Pike or tuck, forward, inward or reverse, twists or somersaults. It makes no difference for the Chinese when it comes to diving: The sport's superpower simply executes every move better than everyone else. Lao Lishi and Li Ting earned China its third gold medal in as many Olympic diving events Monday, easily winning the women's 10-meter synchronized platform competition.


China's Lao Lishi and Li Ting dive to the gold medal in the Women's 10 meter synchronized platform diving event at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Monday, Aug. 16, 2004. [AP]

On Saturday, Tian Liang and Yang Jinghui won the men's 10-meter event and Wu Minxia and Guo Jingjing won the women's 3-meter springboard.

China won 10 of 24 diving medals at the 2000 Games in Sydney.

With a total of 352.14 points, Lao and Li added to their title from the world championships in Barcelona last year. Natalia Goncharova and Yulia Koltunova of Russia won the silver with 340.92 and Blythe Hartley and Emilie Heymans of Canada took the bronze at 327.78.

The Chinese team's exquisite skill was easily discernible on its very first, simple dive. Entering the water at a near-perfect 90-degree angle with virtually no splash, Lao and Li earned 53.40 points.

The U.S. duo of Cassandra Cardinell and Sara Hildebrand followed with the worst dive of the night, a forward-inward combination that gained only 31.80 points. The Americans finished seventh.


China's Lao Lishi (front) and Li Ting dive to the gold medal in the Women's 10 meter synchronized platform diving event at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Monday, Aug. 16, 2004. [AP]

China's fourth dive an inward 3 1/2 somersault tuck was the only one that did not earn high marks, but that was due to a lower degree of difficulty than some other teams' selections. Yet entering the fifth and final round, the duo held more than a 10-point advantage ahead of the Russians, who scored 85.68 with a back 2 1/2 somersault 1 1/2 twists in their final dive when they needed a near-perfect 96.90 to win.

China already had finished with an 86.70 on a back 2 1/2 somersault 1 1/2 twists pike.

Synchronized diving requires two divers to leap at the same time from adjacent boards, with nine judges inspecting the individual dives and synchronization.

Men's 3-meter springboard synchro was scheduled for later Monday.

The individual diving competition begins Friday and runs nine straight days.

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