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Greg Louganis wins gold after cracking head open on board

By MARTIN LADER, UPI Sports Writer

SEOUL, South Korea -- Greg Louganis, less than 24 hours after he cracked his head open on the board, won the men's springboard Tuesday to capture the third gold medal of his illustrious Olympic career.

Louganis, who took five stitches to close the wound in his head, came back to defeat the powerful Chinese team, the rising juggernaut in diving.

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Liangde Tan of China, second to Louganis in this event at the 1984 Olympics, once again earned a silver, and his teammate, Deliang Li, took the bronze.

Mark Bradshaw of Columbus, Ohio, recovered from another poor start to finish fifth, one spot behind Albin Killat of West Germany. He was 11th in the field of 12 finalists after the first dive, and eighth after six dives.

This was Louganis' fourth Olympic medal stretching back to 1976, when he earned a silver in the platform. In the 1984 Games, Louganis became the third man to win both the springboard and platform in the same Olympics, and he now is in position to join American Pat McCormick as the only people to sweep both diving events at two consecutive Olympics.

The 28-year-old Californian, with his wound visible on his head, all but clinched the gold on the same dive which could have caused him serious injury Monday. This time, performing the reverse 2 1-2 somersault from the pike position, Louganis cleared the board with room to spare and earned a score of 76.50. He was smiling broadly when he exited the pool.

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Louganis completed his gold medal performance with two of the most difficult dives, a reverse 1 1-2 somersault with 3 1-2 twists, for which he earned a reward of 88.11, the highest score of the competition, and a reverse 3 1-2 somersault from the tuck position, which carries the highest degree of difficulty of 3.5.

Louganis finished with 730.80 points. The 23-year-old Tan, who has beaten Louganis twice this year and is the only man to defet him off the springboard in international competition since 1981, totaled 704.88 and Li, 21, had 665.28.

Just as he had done a day earlier in the preliminaries, Louganis soared to the lead with his first dive, a back dive from the tuck position.

He retained command through the first three of the 11 dives, but fell back to fourth place on the fourth dive. Tan, with a pretty reverse 1 1-2 somersault with a half twist, moved into first place at this point, followed by Li and Killat.

Louganis, though, made up all the deficit with his next jump, a backward 1 1-2 somersault with 2 1-2 twists, earning 73.92 points, the highest award to that stage. This gave him a 9-point advantage over Tan, and he remained in front the rest of the way.

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Louganis stretched his advantage to more than 20 points with a score of 84.63 on his seventh dive, a forward 3 1-2 somersault from the pike position.

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