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2008 Summer Olympic Games Preview - Diving

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The U.S. Olympic Diving Team heads to Beijing hoping to avoid a repeat of four years ago.

Despite their historical dominance in the sport, American divers walked away without a single medal at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens.

It marked the first time the U.S. failed to win a diving medal since the Stockholm Games in 1912 (although the men's team was shutout of the 2000 Games in Sydney, Laura Wilkinson won gold in the women's 10-meter platform).

The primary benefactors of the Americans' dubious accomplishment in Greece were the Chinese, who collected nine total medals in diving, including six golds.

Now Olympic hosts, the Chinese have posed the most serious threat to American dominance in diving for the past 20 years.

U.S. head coach John Wingfield's team will battle that threat with a roster of 12 divers in Beijing, marking the first time since 1996 the Americans will have the maximum number of athletes.

Wilkinson will join men's standout Troy Dumais in leading the U.S. Diving team in Beijing after both won their events at Olympic Trials to secure their third trip to the Summer Games.

A three-time USA Diving athlete of the year, Wilkinson was unable to build on her 2000 gold medal in platform -- a first for an American woman since 1964 -- when she finished fifth at the Athens Games in 2004.

But she rebounded with a gold medal at the World Championships in 2005, and this year the 30-year-old Texan claimed first place in platform at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Also making his third Olympic team after winning the men's three-meter springboard at Trials, Dumais will look to build on his sixth-place finish in Athens four years ago.

The 28-year-old Dumais will be joined in the men's three-meter discipline by Chris Colwill, who is one of four American divers competing in two separate events in Beijing.

Colwill will compete alongside Jevon Tarantino in the men's synchronized three-meter springboard, while two more American men -- David Boudia and Thomas Finchum -- are entered in both the 10-meter platform and synchronized 10-meter platform.

On the women's side, Wilkinson will be joined in the 10-meter platform by teammate Haley Ishimatsu, who will also compete in the synchronized 10-meter platform event with fellow 15-year-old Mary Beth Dunnichay.

Christina Loukas and Nancilea Underwood Foster will compete in three-meter springboard, while Ariel Rittenhouse and Kelci Bryant will represent the Americans in the synchronized three-meter event.

China will be the favorite to claim the most medals again after it walked away with six golds, two silvers and a bronze in Athens. No other country won more than a single gold four years ago.

Second to the Chinese at the Athens Games were the Australians with six total medals (one gold, one silver and four bronze). Russia claimed four medals (two silver and two bronze) and Canada was the only other multiple-medal winner with two overall (one silver and one bronze).

The host Greeks joined Germany and Great Britain with one medal apiece.

The Olympic diving program in Beijing will begin two days after the Opening Ceremony with the women's synchronized three-meter finals on August 10. It runs through the men's 10-meter platform finals on August 23.

07/17 13:08:29 ET


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