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U.S. OLYMPIC FESTIVAL : LOS ANGELES--1991 : ATHLETES TO WATCH : Among 3,000 Competitors, Some Will Stand Out

July 10, 1991|JOHN WEYLER

KENT FERGUSON

Diving

Kent Ferguson could think of only one word to say after he won the three-meter springboard event at the 1990 World Championships. He said it three times.

"Wow, wow, wow," said Ferguson, a five-time U.S. champion who had never won a major international competition.

The victory helped remove the sting of third-place finishes in both the 1984 and '88 Olympic trials. Two divers in each event make the Olympic team.

He almost retired after the disappointment and pain of the '88 trials. Ferguson dislocated his shoulder on the first dive of the finals, had it popped back into place and continued. His decision to keep diving was rewarded in Perth, Australia, on January 9 when he beat top-ranked Tan Liangde of China to become world champion.

Ferguson's elegant, fluid style is a contrast to the more acrobatic diving of many competitors, but he is one of only four divers to score more than 700 points in an international competition.

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