Tian Liang

------diving for gold in Athens 08-09-2004 14:24

The Chinese diving team is known as one of China's "dream teams" because it has won 14 Olympic gold medals in the past 2 decades. Tian Liang is one of the youngest members of the team who brought glory to the team by winning the men's 10-meter platform gold in Sydney. Now he's gearing up to defend his title at the Athens Games.

The Atlanta Games in 1996 was Tian Liang's maiden Olympic appearance. He was just 13 years old. His 4th place finish put him into the group of world diving elites for the very first time.

4 years later in Sydney, the teenager astounded world diving again by winning the men's 10-meter platform gold medal ahead of his arch-rival, Dmitri Sautin of Russia. His last dive resulted in an unprecedented 101.52 points.

The Olympic gold turned Tian Liang into a household figure throughout China and the world diving arena, and he proved himself invincible in the next 2 years by not losing a single event, including the world championship and the 2002 Pusan Asian Games.

He is known as the "sunshine boy" in China because a gentle but confident smile is always on his face. He credits his past success with his composure.

Olympic diving champion Tian Liang said: "Sometimes when I meet obstacles, I tend to become introverted or even a little bit pessimistic. But since I left home very early to practise diving and have experienced much, I have to keep myself optimistic, especially when big events are approaching. An athlete cannot be sad for too long. I adjust my emotions by many means."

A series of setbacks, however, have struck the rising star since early 2003, when he failed to clinch titles at the World Grand Prix finals and the Barcelona World Championship due largely to unexpected injuries and inconsistent cooperation with his new partner. Perhaps it was time for him to change.

Defending a title is even more difficult than winning a championship, and the massive challenge of defending his Olympic gold is drawing near. He says he will compete in Athens as a beginner.

Tian Liang said: "I feel that one must continue to move upwards after reaching a career peak, otherwise he or she will collapse in fierce competition. Sometimes I tend to be over-confident, so it's good for me to keep alert. But I'm as determined as ever to contribute more to my country, and I'm sure I'm still capable of doing that."

Editor:Wang Ping

About Us . Get the Channel? . Contact Us Xinhua . People's Daily . China Daily . CRI . . cycnet . eastday .
Copyright © 2005 China Central Television, All Rights Reserved