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Facts about women's springboard Olympic champions
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17:20, August 17, 2008

Beijing is to witness a tough battle for historic gold in women's 3m springboard on Sunday evening.

Chinese overwhelming favorite Guo Jingjing is set to defend her Olympic title while setting the record as the first-ever to win back-to-back gold in both synchro and individual events.

Here are some basic facts about winners of the event in previous five Olympics.

-- Gao Min, springboard champion of the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games.

Nicknamed "Diving Queen", Gao is one of the most dominant divers in the history of the sport. Undefeated in world competitions on the 3m springboard between 1986 and 1992, she claimed Olympic titles in the 1988 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Born in September 1970 in China's Sichuan Province, Gao started swimming at four, and turned to diving at nine.

She won her first major international competition on the 3m springboard in the World Championships in 1986.

Gao tied the legendary Greg Louganis by receiving the most international awards on one springboard.

The two-time Olympic champion is also the first female diver to surpass 600-points score in the event, and she did it three times.

Gao was chosen as the World's Best Diver of the Year by the U.S. magazine Swimming World from 1987 to 1989 and the Woman's World Springboard Diver of the Year for a record seven consecutive years from 1986 to 1992.

-- Fu Mingxia, 10m platform champion of 1992 Olympics, both 10m platform and 3m springboard winner in 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and springboard winner of Sydney Games.

Born in August 1978 in China's central Hubei province, Fu started gymnastics at five but soon switching to diving.

She won her first world champion title in 1991 at the World Swimming Championships, becoming the youngest world champion ever in any sport.

In the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Fu Mingxia became China's youngest Olympic champion ever to win the 10m platform gold at 13.

Her success prompted the international governing body to rule divers must turn 14 by the year of Olympic, World Championship or World Cup competition to participate.

She also won the 10m platform gold in both the 1993 and 1994 World Championships and the 3m springboard gold in the 1995 World Championships.

In 1996, Fu captured both the 10m platform and the 3m springboard gold at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. In doing so, she equaled the achievements of Germany's Ingrid Kraemer in the 1960 Rome Olympics, becoming only the fourth female to capture both titles.

Fu's customary close rival Russian Julia Pakhalina, considered her the best-ever Chinese diver.

-- Guo Jingjing, winner of both synchro and individual springboard events in 2004 Athens Games, synchro champion of Beijing Olympics.

Born in China's northern Hebei province in October 1981, Guo took up diving at six in the Baoding Training Base. She was recruited in the Chinese national team in 1992, under the guidance of her coach Zhong Shaozhen.

In her Olympic debut at the 2004 Athens Olympics, Guo earned a gold medal in the 3m synchronized springboard along with Wu Minxia, before finally winning her first individual Olympic gold in the 3m springboard event.

She is considered the leading member of the Chinese diving team after the retirement of Fu Mingxia.

Seven days ago, the 26-year-old defended her synchro title with Wu Minxia at the Beijing Olympics, leaving her only goal to secure an individual gold on home soil on Sunday.

If Guo succeeded in the individual event, she would collect up to six Olympic medals to break the record holding by Fu Mingxia, who grabbed five.

Source: Xinhua

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