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SYDNEY 2000 / SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES | SPORT BY SPORT
/ MEN'S DIVING

China's Tian, Hu Lead Semifinalists

September 29, 2000|DIANE PUCIN

After two diving events, when the Chinese didn't win a gold medal, it seemed the run was over.

Since 1984, Chinese divers had won nine of 16 gold medals awarded. American star Greg Louganis won four of the others and three Chinese men won silver to Louganis's gold.

But the run might not be over. After losing gold to a Russian team in women's synchronized springboard and to the United States' Laura Wilkinson in women's platform, Chinese divers have won four gold medals.

And after today's men's platform preliminaries, the Chinese men are primed for a fifth gold.

Tian Liang, a 21-year-old who finished fourth on the platform four years ago in Atlanta, put together a spectacular display and was awarded five perfect 10s on his way to first place. Teammate Hu Jia, 17, finished second while being awarded three 10s in his program of six dives.

Defending Olympic and world platform champion Dmitry Sautin of Russia stood third. U.S. divers qualified seventh and 10th out of 44 divers into the semifinals, which includes the top 18 divers.

David Pichler, 32, of Butler, Pa., who finished sixth on the platform in Atlanta, missed his armstand back triple somersault from the tuck position, scoring as low as 4.5. Minus that one miss, Pichler would have been fourth instead of seventh.

The brightest young U.S. diver, 21-year-old Mark Ruiz of Orlando, was 10th.

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