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Diving at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games:

Men's Platform

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Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Indoor Swimming Pool, Olympic Park, Seoul
Date Started: September 26, 1988
Date Finished: September 27, 1988
Format: 10 metre platform.

Gold: USA Greg Louganis
Silver: CHN Xiong Ni
Bronze: MEX Jesús Mena

Summary

The 1976 Olympic platform final had featured Italy’s Klaus Dibiasi against the next great thing, 16-year-old Greg Louganis. Dibiasi won his third consecutive gold medal, with Louganis getting silver, only to see him dominate diving over the next 12 years. In Seoul, the men’s platform event evoked memories of Montréal, with Louganis now the world’s greatest diver, but he was challenged by the new next great thing, China’s 14-year-old Xiong Ni. Louganis had won this event in 1984, and had already won the springboard in Seoul, after the trauma of hitting his head on the board on a qualifying dive.

The event was very close in the final, with no more than 10 points separating either diver after every round. After nine rounds, Xiong led by 3.00 points, and he dove first on the final round. He ripped his inward 3½ tuck for a 9.0 and four 8.5s, scoring 82.56 points. Louganis had chosen a reverse 3½ tuck on his final effort, the so-called “Dive of Death,” so named because Soviet diver Sergey Chalibashvilli had died after attempting the dive and hitting his head on the platform at the 1983 Universiade. But Louganis performed it well, not perfectly, but well, and scored all 8.5s from the judges. With the DD of 3.4, this gave him 85.56 points for the dive and the gold medal by 1.14 points.

Louganis announced his retirement from diving a few weeks after the Seoul Olympics. He is considered the greatest diver of all-time, having won the diving double-double in 1984 and 1988, a World diving double-double in 1982 and 1986, and a Pan American Games triple-double in 1979, 1983, and 1987. Only the 1980 USA-led boycott of the Moscow Olympics prevented him from a probable triple-double at the Olympics.

Xiong was far from finished. He won a bronze medal on platform at the 1992 Olympics, and then won three gold medals, on springboard in 1996 and 2000, and in synchro springboard in 2000. His great opponent in the 1990s, Dmitry Sautin, would later call him the “King of Divers.”

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Greg Louganis 28 United States USA Gold
2 Xiong Ni 14 China CHN Silver
3 Jesús Mena 20 Mexico MEX Bronze
4 Giorgi Chogovadze 19 Soviet Union URS
5 Jan Hempel 17 East Germany GDR
6 Li Kongzheng 29 China CHN
7 Steffen Haage 23 East Germany GDR
8 Vladimir Timoshinin 18 Soviet Union URS
9 Jorge Mondragón 25 Mexico MEX
10 Isao Yamagishi 22 Japan JPN
11 David Bédard 22 Canada CAN
12 Patrick Jeffrey 23 United States USA
13 QR Albin Killat 27 West Germany FRG
14 QR Keita Kaneto 21 Japan JPN
15 QR Bob Morgan 21 Great Britain GBR
16 QR Domenico Rinaldi 29 Italy ITA
17 QR Oscar Bertone 20 Italy ITA
18 QR Craig Rogerson 23 Australia AUS
19 QR Graeme Banks 19 Australia AUS
20 QR Jeffrey Hirst 24 Canada CAN
21 QR Jeffrey Arbon 20 Great Britain GBR
22 QR Willi Meyer 23 West Germany FRG
23 QR Frédéric Pierre 19 France FRA
24 QR Tom Lemaire 28 Belgium BEL
25 QR Emilio Ratia 20 Spain ESP
26 QR Lee Seon-Gi 23 South Korea KOR