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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
China make diving mark
Na Li and Xue Sang in action in Sydney
Synchronised diving was deemed a success at the Sydney Olympics
Diving was initially the preserve of gymnasts who practiced their performances over water.

The modern sport of diving began to take shape at the end of the 19th century in England and Australia and made its Olympic debut in 1904 with the men's 10m platform competition.

At each of the next three Games a further discipline was added with the men's 3m springboard introduced in 1908, the women's platform in 1912 and finally the women's springboard came aboard in 1920.

The meet maintained that structure until four years ago in Sydney when sychronised diving in each of the four disciplines was introduced.

There have been two outstanding athletes in Olympic diving history.

Italy's Klaus Dibiasi won a silver medal in platform diving at the 1964 Olympics before winning a hat-trick of titles between 1968 and 1976.

At the 1920 Antwerp Olympics the competition was held in an old, cold, murky moat
Dibiasi is the only Olympic diver to have won three successive gold medals, and he is the only diver to have won medals at four Olympics.

In winning his final gold he edged a young American named Greg Louganis into second.

But for the USA's boycott Louganis may have equalled Dibiasi's feat of three successive golds, and he showed his worth when returning to the Olympic stage in 1984 with golds off both the platform and springboard.

Four years later he again doubled up, although his performance is better remembered for an attempted a reverse somersault 2 pike in the preliminaries that resulted in him cracking his head on the springboard.

Louganis' success in Los Angeles overshadowed the first Chinese medals in Olympic diving.

China is now the dominant force in diving having won 29 medals at the last five Olympics and an amazing 58% of the golds on offer.

Ni Xiong is the most successful Chinese diver with three gold medals, including back-to-back victories off the springboard in 1996 and 2000.

MEDAL TABLE (Top five)
Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
Men (since 1904)
USA 27 20 20 67
China 5 7 4 16
Sweden 4 5 4 13
Germany 3 6 6 15
Italy 3 4 2 9
Women (since 1912)
USA 20 20 21 61
China 9 4 0 13
Germany 3 2 3 8
Soviet Union 2 5 3 10
Sweden 2 3 3 8

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