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Guo stays cool under pressure
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09:12, August 11, 2008

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· Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
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Screaming spectators and rapid-fire camera flashes are something Chinese "Diving queen" Guo Jingjing has gotten used to.

She proved her cool in the face of heavy pressure yesterday as she began her bid to sweep the springboard gold medals with a perfect start, seizing the women's synchronized gold with partner Wu Minxia.

"Of course I had pressure. I cannot avoid it, only try to adjust properly," said the 26-year-old multiple Olympic and world champion.

"I told myself to focus on the springboard and my dives, and not be affected by the outside."

Since she won two gold medals at the Athens Olympics, Guo has occupied the headlines not only as an athlete - she bona fide celebrity, with her personal life fully on display.

During a pre-Games test event in February, Guo got caught up in a media swarm criticizing her "improper" dealings with reporters. But now the diving veteran seems at ease in front of the media, answering questions patiently and confidently.

"If I don't answer the questions, I will be criticized again," she joked to a group of journalists waiting for her after her competition yesterday.

With a clear and stable mind, Guo seems unbeatable on springboard since the retirement of China's four-time Olympic champion Fu Mingxia.

"Previous Olympics showed that even under pressure, Guo didn't make many mistakes, so we are not hoping for her to do that, but instead just trying to compete with them and do the best we can," said Russian diving veteran Julia Pakhalina.

Competing in her fourth and possibly last Olympics, Guo is also a big favorite in the individual 3m springboard.

If she wins another gold she will tie Fu for the most Olympic diving gold medals at four and will become the most decorated female diver in Olympic history with six Olympic medals of any color, surpassing Fu's five.

"The individual event has preliminaries, semifinals and finals, so I won't think too much about the results, just compete step by step," said Guo.

As for her possible retirement after the Beijing Games, Guo said her focus is still on the Olympic competitions and she has not thought about her future.

Source: China Daily

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