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Louganis Hits Head on Board, Returns for Best Dive of Games

Times Wire Services

Defending champion Greg Louganis hit the top of his head on the springboard late in today’s preliminary competition, then came back in the next round to perform the best dive of the day after a team doctor put four stitches in his head.

After Louganis ended up finishing third behind Tan Liangde of China and Albin Killat of West Germany in a field of 12 who go into Tuesday’s final, American officials said there was no doubt he would be ready.

“There are no worries about concussion,” one official said. “He was really angry with himself, but fortunately that board was flexible.”

Louganis, who had dived superbly all day to lead by eight points after eight rounds, clipped the leading edge of the board while attempting a difficult reverse 2 1/2 somersaults.

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The American smacked into the water out of control before swimming slowly to the side. Louganis, the reigning world champion, took his time climbing out, rubbing his head gingerly.

He was smiling by the time he had walked to the divers’ rest area, but there was obvious concern among American officials about his ability to continue. He immediately went to the doctor to have his head stitched and returned 30 minutes later, about five minutes before his last dive.

Amused at all the fuss, the American mouthed his thanks to those wishing him luck before locking himself into a cocoon of concentration on the board for his final dive, a reverse 1 1/2 somersault with 3 1/2 twists.

A standing ovation and 9.5 scores from two judges greeted his perfect dive that garnered the highest points of the competition, 87.12.

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