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Team leader Zhou set her mind at rest with third diving gold claimed
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Chinese diving team leader Zhou Jihong couldn't put her mind at rest until she saw her teenagers Wang Xin and Chen Ruolin claimed the third diving gold for the host nation on Tuesday.

Zhou witnessed her apprentices' solid performance in the women's 10m platform synchronized final.

The teenagers Wang and Chen, 16 and 15 respectively, made a perfect Olympic debut in Beijing, as they dived so calmly in the Water Cube with huge crowds of people, as if there was no one else present.

Wang and Chen, winner of the event in 2007 Melbourne Worlds, led all the way in the final. Their winning score was 363.54 points, almost 30 points more than the silver medalists Australian Wu Melissa and Briony Cole, who posted 335.16. Tatiana Ortiz and Paola Espinosa of Mexico took the bronze medals in 330.06.

It's the third gold achieved by the Chinese diving "dream team" at Beijing Olympics. It is also the third consecutive gold achieved by China in the 10m platform synchro at Olympic Games since the 2000 Sydney Games.

Zhou said after the final that she had been quite worried about the two girls. Though the world champion pair are quite strong, they are still young, and inexperienced. They would be afraid of the huge audience.

"The atmosphere in the venue is too fiery," said the team leader. "When they stood on the tower, the audience were still shouting. It would be difficult for everyone. But the two kids were good, they waited until the spectators were quiet."

In synchronized events, when the divers stand on the platform, it will be unappreciated for the audience to cheer for them, because the divers will not hear the watchword to synchronize. But the "dream team" has already made preparations for that.

"We have reminded the divers that they should not perform until the audience are quiet," Zhou said. "They performed well, which shows the mental courses have good effects."

Zhou said that different from witnessing the winning of Wang and Chen, the gold claimed by Lin Yue and Huo Liang at men's 10m platform synchro on Monday was more touching for her, which is not because of the competition or the gold, but because of the effort the whole team pulled together.

Lin Yue was not in form in recent months. In fact, he almost missed the chance for an individual event due to his unstable state of mind.

During the pre-Olympic training in Ji'nan in eastern China's Shandong Province, the whole team was going all out to help the 17-year-old get back to his form.

"Lin is in an age of rapid physical growth. He grows taller everyday, but his strength did not increase as that much," said Zhou. "Thus he failed to execute dives as well as before, and quality and difficulty of his dives dropped drastically.

"It was a really hard period for us," admitted Zhou, China's first Olympic diving champion.

In order to whip up the teenager's, the State General Administration of Sport assigned an experienced physical trainer and a psychologist to offer him advice.

Lin, described by Zhou as "a young calf who doesn't fear a tiger", had gone through a tough journey before winning his first Olympic gold.

Zhou said that not only her was moved on Monday, actually the whole team was present in the final. And when Lin and Huo finished their last dive, the whole team burst into tears.

"When Guo Jingjing and Wu Minxia won the first gold on Sunday, we were not quite excited," said Zhou. "Even Guo herself was not cried. But when Lin Yue claimed the gold, Guo cried a lot."

When Lin stepped on the podium, Zhou thought the whole team was encouraged. "The gold encouraged the team. We can deal with any difficulties now."

(Xinhua News Agency August 12, 2008)

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