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Two Good

Aug. 23, 2004
Aug. 23, 2004

Table of Contents
Aug. 23, 2004

2004 Olympics
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  • By CHARLES P. PIERCE

    Let's go back-back-back through 25 years with ESPN's Chris (Boomer) Berman, whose outsized enthusiasms have stamped his network, sports and television

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Two Good

In synchronized diving the Chinese still rule the pool

AFTER THEIR MIRROR-IMAGE dives in the women's three-meter springboard event, Wu Minxia and Guo Jingjing, matched in slight build and height, emerged from the water and bowed to the audience--in sync, of course. China quickly established its dominance in the opening days of diving, winning every synchronized event except the men's springboard, in which leaders Peng Bo and Wang Kenan blew their final dive. That mistake enabled the Greek duo of Nikolaos Siranis and Thomas Bimis to win their country's first gold medal of the Games.

This is an article from the Aug. 23, 2004 issue Original Layout

Though China continues to choose young diving prospects and train them at state sport schools ("They learn the best techniques right away," said Australian bronze medalist Chantelle Newbery, "whereas we start when we're 12 for fun, learn a few bad habits and spend a lot of time trying to get rid of them"), the ones who reach the Olympics are becoming more Westernized. The two biggest stars, Guo, 22, and men's 10-meter platform gold medalist Tian Liang, 24, still live in dormitories with 6 a.m. reveille and 10 p.m. lights out and nine hours of training in between, but they are well rewarded. In China, Guo and Tian are heroes with endorsement deals from multinational companies. And they're such celebrities that their countrymen are abuzz over a rumor that the divers will neither confirm nor deny: that they're a couple. --K.A.

COLOR PHOTOpPhotograph by Bob MartinYOU GUO, GIRLS Wu and Guo (right) were perfectly suited to each other in Athens, but crowd favorites Siranis (inset, right) and Bimis made the biggest splash. COLOR PHOTOJOHN BIEVER [see caption above]