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Mark Lenzi dies at 43; American diving champion

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Mark Lenzi, the 1992 Olympic 3-meter springboard champion and the last American male diver to win Olympic gold, died Monday in Greenville, N.C. He was 43.

Lenzi's alma mater, Indiana University, announced his death but did not provide the cause. His mother, Ellie, told the family's hometown newspaper, the Free Lance-Star of Fredricksburg, Va., that Lenzi had been hospitalized the last two weeks because of fainting spells caused by low blood pressure.

Four years after his gold-medal performance in Barcelona, Lenzi earned a bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and became the first diver to score 100 points on a single dive.

Lenzi was wrestling in high school when he was suddenly captivated by Greg Louganis' remarkable Olympics performance at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Lenzi changed sports, diving right into his new passion.

In 1989, he swept the Big 10 titles in the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform competitions, then went on to win the first of his back-to-back 1-meter national championships in '89. He was selected the NCAA's diver of the year in 1989 and 1990.

No American male diver has won an Olympic diving medal since Lenzi in '96.

Lenzi's impressive resume includes 18 international springboard championships. He was the first diver to score more than 700 points in an 11-dive competition on the 3-meter board and the first American to successfully complete a forward, 4 1/2 somersault in competition.

Lenzi, who struggled with post-Olympic depression, went into coaching after his diving career ended.

Survivors include his wife, mother, three siblings and grandmother.

news.obits@latimes.com

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