Chinese diver Guo eyes to sweep all crowns at Olympics

July 18th, 2008 - 5:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, July 18 (Xinhua) Regardless of being all-time focus of media attention, Chinese “diving queen” Guo Jingjing only cares about defending her title in her last Olympic Games. Diving is one of the most important Olympic events for China as the country maintains traditional dominance in the sport. Shouldered with high expectations, the 27-year-old Guo hopes to sweep all of the diving gold medals with her team mates. Guo had announced she would retire after the Beijing Olympics.

Guo, who is the oldest women’s athlete in Chinese diving history, was born in Baoding of northern China’s Hebei province on Oct 15, 1981. She started diving at seven, and made it to the Chinese national team in 1992 when she was 11.

At 15, Guo made her Olympic debut in Atlanta, but only finished fifth in 10 meter platform.

Four years later, Guo won two silver medals at the Sydney Games and followed up with her first Olympic title in Athens 2004. She earned gold in the three-meter springboard synchronised with Wu Minxia before finally winning her first individual Olympic gold in the three-meter springboard.

Besides the Olympic arena, Guo was crowned at the three-meter springboard in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 World Championships, becoming the first four-straight-time world champ in the sport.

Nicknamed “springboard diva”, Guo has been the leading member of the Chinese “dream team” since triple Olympic gold winner Fu Mingxia retired.

However, at the FINA Diving World Series in Nanjing in May, Guo blundered in her first dive, resulting in an embarrassing 21-point score which cost her a spot in the final.

“It’s not bad to reveal some problems before the Games since we have time to correct them,” said Chinese national team manager Zhou Jihong.

“I hope Guo learns from these mistakes and gets back to her best form before the Beijing Games,” she added.

Guo’s coach Zhong Shaozhen said Guo is the most hard-working diver in the Chinese team and she earned each of her gold medal with arduous efforts.

In August, the National Aquatics Centre, popularly known as the “Water Cube”, will witness her last Olympic competitions with familiar rivals like Russian veteran Julia Pakhalina and team mate Wu Minxia.

“I don’t feel too much pressure,” said Guo. “I will only have to compete with myself. It’s my fourth Olympics, and my only goal is defending champion.”

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