Chen Ruolin

Chen Ruolin
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China diving stars won’t defend individual Olympic titles in Rio, report says

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Neither of China’s individual diving gold medalists will defend their titles in Rio, according to Xinhua News Agency.

The Chinese Olympic diving team hasn’t been officially named, but trials are over and those results have determined the team, according to the report.

Reigning Olympic platform champion Chen Ruolin and springboard champion Wu Minxia will go to Rio, but only in synchronized events, according to the report.

Chen and Wu also competed only in separate synchro events at the 2015 World Championships, where China swept the four synchro titles, as it did at the last two Olympics.

Rio could mark the first time since 1988 that zero Chinese divers attempt to repeat as individual Olympic champions. In between, legends Gao MinFu MingxiaXiong Ni and Guo Jingjing won back-to-back golds. As did Chen on the platform in 2008 and 2012.

Chen and Wu are tied with Guo and Fu and Americans Greg Louganis and Pat McCormick for the record of four Olympic diving titles.

The Chinese Olympic men’s diving team is expected to be led by platform star Qiu Bo. Qiu was upset for London Olympic gold by American David Boudia but relegated Boudia to silver at the last three World Championships.

MORE: David Boudia: ‘Silver is like a thorn in the side’

Chen Roulin could stand alone in Olympic diving history after Rio 2016

Chen Ruolin
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China’s Chen Ruolin could finish the Rio Olympics with an unmatched diving record, and she could continue on to Tokyo 2020, but her platform prowess is in doubt after this past season.

Chen has entered four career Olympic events and won all of them. She took gold in the platform and synchronized platform at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games, debuting at the Olympics as a 15-year-old.

Chen, now 22, lit the cauldron at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, in August 2014, but she suffered a setback this year.

Chen underperformed at the Chinese diving trials and did not make the World Championships team in the individual platform, where she had taken gold or silver at the previous four Worlds dating to 2007.

At Worlds, North Korean Kim Kuk-hyang came away with the platform title, followed by Chen’s countrywoman Ren Qian, who is 14, and Malaysia’s Pandelela Rinong for an unusual all-Asian podium. North Korea owns zero Olympic diving medals.

Chen still competed, taking her fourth straight World title in the synchro platform.

If Chen can make her third Olympic team next year, she will go to Rio looking to break the record for most career Olympic diving gold medals.

She shares it with retired Americans Greg Louganis and Pat McCormick and retired Chinese Guo Jingjing and Fu Mingxia and an active teammate, Wu Minxia. Of those divers, only McCormick joined Chen in going undefeated at the Olympics, sweeping the individual platform and springboard in 1952 and 1956.

Wu, a three-time Olympian on the springboard and seven years older than Chen, also competed only in synchro at Worlds in July, earning gold.

Chen said at Worlds in Kazan, Russia, that she has no interest in the springboard, which platform divers have been known to switch to late in their careers.

Chen, who was raised by grandparents, started diving at age 4 and has shied away from talk of being China’s next great diver, also wouldn’t say if Rio would be her last Olympic run.

As for the best divers of all time, Chen named Guo and Wu as role models.

Chen said a fifth Olympic gold medal would be a highlight — but not necessarily the end — of one of the greatest diving careers, perhaps the greatest ever.

NBC Olympics researcher Amanda Doyle contributed to this report.

MORE DIVING: Men’s platform sets up for more drama in Rio

China bypasses Olympic diving champions for World Championships team

He Chong
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All three active Chinese divers with individual Olympic gold medals will not compete individually at the World Championships this summer, according to Xinhua News Agency, a testament to the nation’s extraordinary depth.

He Chong, the three-time reigning World champion on the 3m springboard and 2008 Olympic champion, was left off the roster entirely after underperforming at national trials.

Chen Ruolin, the two-time reigning Olympic women’s platform champion who won platform medals at the last four World Championships, will compete only in the synchro platform at Worlds in Kazan, Russia, according to the report.

Wu Minxia, the 2012 Olympic women’s springboard champion, will also compete only in synchro at the World Championships. Wu, who earned individual springboard medals at every Worlds from 2001 through 2011, also did not compete individually at the 2013 World Championships.

Si Yajie, the 2013 World champion in women’s platform at age 14, was also left off the individual platform team but will compete in the new mixed-gender synchro platform and team events.

The Chinese roster of individual divers for this summer’s Worlds is led by men’s platform stars Qiu Bo, the two-time defending World champion, and Yang Jian. They are primary competition for U.S. Olympic champion David Boudia and British Olympic bronze medalist Tom Daley.

He Zi, who swept the women’s 1m and 3m springboard at 2013 Worlds, is entered in both events again this year.

In 2013, China won nine of 10 gold medals at Worlds after sweeping all 10 at the 2011 Worlds.

USA Diving names Worlds roster