Xiong Ni Wins Men’s 3m Springboard Gold

Xiong Ni of China became the second diver to defend the men’s 3m springboard Olympic title as he totalled 708.72 points in the final on Tuesday.

The other diver who won two consecutive Olympic men’s springboard title was Greg Louganis of the United States.

Xiong Ni is also the second diver to win medals at four Olympics, tying Italy’s Klaus Dibiasi, who accomplished the feat from 1964-76.

“The final was very emotional, I just could not hold back tears,” said Xiong Ni.

“This is the most difficult event for Chinese divers. In the first three events we missed the golds. This is very unusual for us. We were very excited and happy about the victory, and we were all crying.”

The final was full of drama with Russian Dmitri Saoutine leading all the way till the final round. But he faltered in his sixth and last dive, a reverse two and a half somersaults with one and a half twists, collecting only 65.10 points.

Xiong Ni garnered 81.60 points from his final dive, beating Mexican Fernando Platas to the second place by a margin of 0.30 point. Saoutine, who won the platform gold four years ago at Atlanta, finished a disappointing third at 703.20 points.

“I won the platform gold in Atlanta and wanted this event to complete the set,” said Saoutine, “I led from the beginning to the final dive so it is very disappointing to lose. My last dive is the most difficult in my program, so maybe it was a mistake to include it.”

Platas, who won Mexico’s first medal on springboard since 1980, said: ”This medal means happiness and responsibility. That’s what we work for - everyone to be happy.”

“I tried to focus on my technique, there was probably more pressure on the other divers,” said Platas. “It’s the dream of any diver to win a medal at this kind of competition.”

(21dnn.com 09/27/2000)

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