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This Day In Sports: Greg Louganis Gets Back On The Board

9/19/2010

Louganis
Tony Duffy/Allsport

We're betting "oh say can you see" has never sounded so sweet.

September 19, 1988: It's the 1988 Summer Olympics, day four of the three-meter springboard diving competition. American Greg Louganis leads the pack as he steps on the springboard for his ninth preliminary dive of the 11-dive set, a series that determines who will move on the the medal round. Louganis jumps off the board to unleash a reverse 2 1/2 somersault pike, but does not push far enough away from the board. On his descent, he cracks his head on the board and falls awkwardly into the water.

The crowd gasps as medical personnel pull a shaken - but conscious - Louganis out of the pool. He gets temporary sutures to close up his scalp and, remarkably, gets back on the board 35 minutes later to finish qualifying. After the competition, he goes to the hospital to get five stitches to replace the temporary fix.

Louganis would go on to win the three-meter springboard event, finishing first over China's Tan Liangde to become the first diver to win the three-meter springboard in back-to-back Olympic Games. He hits all 11 dives, including dive No. 9, the one that caused all the trouble in the prelims. For more on the moment, which ESPN ranks one of its 100 most memorable, check this out. And for more on Greg, read away.