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Diving at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games:

Men's Springboard

Diving at the 1988 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games


Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Indoor Swimming Pool, Olympic Park, Seoul
Date Started: September 19, 1988
Date Finished: September 20, 1988
Format: 3 metre springboard.

Gold: USA Greg Louganis
Silver: CHN Tan Liangde
Bronze: CHN Li Deliang


After eight dives in the preliminaries defending champion [Greg Louganis] led China’s [Tan Liangde], the 1984 silver medalist, although it was close. Louganis’s ninth dive was a reverse 2½ pike and as he exited the pike into layout, preparing for the entry, he struck his head on the springboard. He collapsed into the water, earned only a total score of 6.30 for the dive, dropping him back to fifth place, and it was not certain he could continue. Before the 10th dive he received several stitches from US team doctor James Puffer. He came back on dive 10, a reverse 2½ with 3½ twists, and received scores between 8.0 and 9.5. He moved up further on the final dive, placing third in qualifying, with Tan placing first. Tan had played Alydar to Louganis’s Affirmed over the years, but he had beaten him twice earlier in 1988 and was looking for gold in Seoul.

But it was not to be. Louganis led most of the finals, except after the fourth dive, when he briefly dropped behind with a poor dive. But he regained the lead after round five, and held it for the gold medal, winning by almost 26 points. His ninth dive was a reprise of his reverse 2½ pike which he performed well, scoring 8.5s from all judges. Tan had to settle for a silver medal repeat, and in 1992 he would three-peat with a third silver on springboard. Tan also won silver on springboard at the 1986 and 1991 World Championships, having the poor timing to compete in the same era as Greg Louganis.

More drama occurred over the next few years. In 1995, Louganis came out as gay, which had been suspected, and also revealed that he was HIV-positive, and had been so at the time of the Seoul Olympics. Only a few people knew this at the time, including his coach, Ron O’Brien, but Dr. James Puffer did not. Louganis had been concerned that his head injury in Seoul had possibly contaminated the water and risked infecting other divers, although the dilution by the water, and the chlorine in the water, obviated that possibility. Both O’Brien and Puffer tested negative for HIV.

A few days later, Louganis would win the platform gold medal, completing the diving double-double, to replicate the feat of [Pat McCormick] from 1952-56.

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Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Greg Louganis 28 United States USA Gold
2 Tan Liangde 23 China CHN Silver
3 Li Deliang 21 China CHN Bronze
4 Albin Killat 27 West Germany FRG
5 Mark Bradshaw 26 United States USA
6 Jorge Mondragón 25 Mexico MEX
7 Jesús Mena 20 Mexico MEX
8 Edwin Jongejans 21 Netherlands NED
9 Niki Stajkovic 29 Austria AUT
10 Aleksandr Portnov 27 Soviet Union URS
11 Keita Kaneto 21 Japan JPN
12 Valery Goncharov 22 Soviet Union URS
13 QR Massimo Castellani 26 Italy ITA
14 QR Joakim Andersson 17 Sweden SWE
15 QR Tom Lemaire 28 Belgium BEL
16 QR Piero Italiani 26 Italy ITA
17 QR Larry Flewwelling 23 Canada CAN
18 QR Isao Yamagishi 22 Japan JPN
19 QR Erich Pils 22 Austria AUT
20 QR David Bédard 22 Canada CAN
21 QR Willi Meyer 23 West Germany FRG
22 QR Juha Ovaskainen 26 Finland FIN
23 QR Graeme Banks 19 Australia AUS
24 QR Jérôme Nalliod 22 France FRA
25 QR José Miguel Gil 17 Spain ESP
26 QR Graham Morris 24 Great Britain GBR
27 QR Tomasz Rossa 21 Poland POL
28 QR Russell Butler 20 Australia AUS
29 QR Bob Morgan 21 Great Britain GBR
30 QR Abraham Suárez 20 Ecuador ECU
31 QR Majed Al-Taqi 18 Kuwait KUW
32 QR Lee Seon-Gi 23 South Korea KOR
33 QR Christopher Honey 26 Barbados BAR
34 QR Tang Kei Shan 26 Hong Kong HKG
35 QR Wong Kin Chung 23 Hong Kong HKG