Olympics: Swim Shorts: Great Leap Downward

Great Leap Downward

In 1980, while rebuilding a competitive-diving program after the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese were inspired when they competed against Greg Louganis and his American teammates in the People's Republic. They vowed to master the great leap downward. Just eight years later, a squad of dazzling and determined divers from China, noted for their splash-free entries, are plunging after Louganis' records.

The Chinese already dominate women's diving. At a mere 5 ft. 3 in., 1986 World Champion Gao Min, 17, seems certain to take the gold medal on the springboard with her clockwork precision. Teammate Li Qing, 16, will vie for the...

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