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China wins first diving medal at Beijing Olympics

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The Sports Network
8/10/2008 3:58:33 AM
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Beijing, China (Sports Network) - The Chinese duo of Guo Jingjing and Wu Minxia repeated as gold medal winners in diving by capturing the women's three-meter synchronized springboard event at the Olympics.

Guo and Wu, who were also the current world champions, combined for a score of 343.50. The Russian tandem of Julia Pakhalina and Anastasia Pozdnyakova captured the silver medal with 323.61, while Germany's Ditte Kotzian and Heike Fischer won the bronze medal with 318.90.

The Americans barely missed out on a medal as Kelci Bryant and Ariel Rittenhouse were fourth with 314.40 points. The 19-year-old Bryant and 17- year-old Rittenhouse have a commitment to return for the 2012 London Games.

"We're just going to have to come back again and do it in the next four years," Rittenhouse said. "This was our first time. Next time we'll know what it's going to be like."

Guo and Wu took a big lead after the second dive, a back dive in pike position, which the judges awarded three perfect tens for synchronization. They pulled off a 2 1/2 somersault in pike position in the fourth round and were able to thrill the home crowd.

"We need to think more about the techniques and communicate with each other for better cooperation," said Wu about trying to deal with the cheers. "I tried to take the audience as a source of driving force."

Pakhalina won gold in this event in Sydney eight years ago and silver in Athens in 2004 with her former partner, Vera Ilyna. She has paired with Pozdnyakova since Ilyna's retirement.

Guo Jingjing and Wu Minxia (Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
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