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What you've missed since London: Diving

Abby Johnston and Steele Johnson and David Boudia
NBC Olympics

What you've missed since London: Diving

Find out which Olympic divers return for the 2016 Games and which have retired.

Who's back

Four-time Olympic champion China's Chen Ruolin, who earned gold medals in the individual and synchronized 10m platform events at both the Beijing and London Games, has the opportunity to stand alone in diving history. By winning a fifth gold in Rio, Chen can break the tie she holds with Greg Louganis, Pat McCormick, Guo Jingjing, Fu Mingxia and Wu Minxia for most career Olympic diving gold medals.

She could set this record, but her recent results make it far from a sure thing. She won individual silver in the 10m in 2013 but wasn't chosen for the individual event at Worlds in 2015 after she underperformed at the Chinese diving selection meet. But, she picked up synchro golds in 2013 and 2015 with Liu Huixia both times.

After winning 3m synchronized springboard gold with partner Wu Minxia at the 2012 London Olympics, China's He Zi found individual success over the following three years. At the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, He took home golds in the non-Olympic individual 1m springboard event and the individual 3m springboard event. He competed in the same events at the 2015 World Championships, and earned a silver in 3m springboard and a bronze in 1m springboard.

Qiu Bo of China finished second in the individual 10m platform event at the 2012 Olympics, but has earned the moniker "Mr. Consistency" since. By winning the 10m title in 2015, Qiu joined the U.S.' Greg Louganis as the only divers to win the individual 10m platform world title three times. Qiu's three consecutive titles came in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

Tom Daley, already a massive celebrity in his home country, was granted a re-dive during the platform final at the 2012 London Olympics due to the crowds' excessive use of flash photography. His second dive scored about 15 points higher than the one that was thrown out, which was roughly how much he needed to win the Olympic bronze medal. His Olympic medal, won on home turf, furthered his popularity in Great Britain. Daley missed the podium at Worlds in 2013, but picked up another bronze medal at Worlds in 2015. In 2013, he was sixth on the platform at Worlds. At Worlds in 2015, he moved back into bronze territory for the platform event.

Who is... Tom Daley

Tom Daley is the 2012 London Olympic bronze medalist in the individual 10m platform.

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Russia's Ilia Zakharov captured two medals over three events at the London Olympic Games: gold in the individual 3m competition, silver in the 3m synchronized event with Evgenii Kuznetsov, and sixth place in the 10m synchronized event with Victor Minibaev. He stayed out of the water for three months after injuring his shoulder at the Diving World Series opener in Beijing in March 2013, but was able to compete at that year's world championships. He earned silver in the 3m synchronized event, again with Kuznetsov. At his home Worlds in 2015 in Kazan, Russia, Zakharov picked up a pair of silver medals: individual 3m springboard and 3m synchronized springboard (with Kuznetsov).

Team USA's David Boudia picked up two medals from the London 2012 Olympics: gold - over rival Qiu Bo of China - in the individual 10m platform, and a bronze with partner Nick McCrory in the synchronized 10m platform. Since then, he's been consistently second, winning silver in the 10m platform events at both the 2013 and 2015 World Championships. Boudia and new partner Steele Johnson finished fifth in the synchronized 10m platform at 2015 Worlds. 

Who is... David Boudia

David Boudia is the defending gold medalist in the men's 10m platform diving from the 2012 Olympics.

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Pandelela Rinong Pamg was the first female Malaysian medalist in 2012, and the first Olympian to win a medal for Malaysia in a sport other than badminton. She earned the bronze medal in the individual 10m platform in London, which was Pamg's second Olympics. She won another 10m platform bronze at the 2015 World Champions, making her Malaysia's first individual diving world championships medalist.

Diving 101: Olympic history

Get a history lesson in diving before the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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Who's gone

Nick McCrory, bronze medalist with David Boudia on the 10m synchronzed platform at the 2012 Olympics, retired to go to medical school. McCrory hadn't competed much since London, and by the time he announced his retirement, Boudia had already partnered with Steele Johnson.

In 2008, China's He Chong earned an individual gold medal on the individual springboard at his home Olympics  in 2008. At the 2012 Olympics, He took bronze in the springboard competition. He officially retired from elite diving soon after, though was still competing on the 2015 World Series circuit. His younger brother, He Chao, could be the heir to his throne.

Breakout stars

At the 2015 Worlds, Great Britain's Jack Laugher became the first British diver to take home more than one medal at a single world championships. He won an individual bronze in the 3m springboard as well as a bronze in the synchronized 3m springboard with partner Chris Mears.

Kim Kuk-Hyang of North Korea upset China's athletes for 10m platform gold at the 2015 Worlds. She became North Korea's first diving medalist at a world championship, and could become the first diver to earn an Olympic medal for North Korea.

Yona Knight-Wisdom became Jamaica's first male diver when he qualified at the World Cup stop in February. He also won Jamaica's first medal at the same competition. He trains in Great Britain with Chris Mears and Jack Laugher.

Diving 101: Qualifying

Learn how divers qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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Major competitions

China captured gold in every men's event (even the non-Olympic 1m springboard) at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia. On the women's side, only the non-Olympic 1m springboard (won by Italy's Tania Cagnotto) and the individual 10m platform (won by North Korea's Kim Kuk-Hyang) titles eluded the Chinese team. That's in the ballpark of their record at the 2012 Olympics, where the Chinese men won two out of four events and the Chinese women swept all four disciplines.

The 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada featured non-Asian and non-European countries, allowing for other countries to gain podium experience. For example, Mexico and Canada tied for nine total medals, aead of Colombia and the United States, which tallied two each.

May 2015's FINA Diving World Series men's 10m platform final, won by Britain's Tom Daley ahead of China's Yang Jian and Qiu Bo, featured an unusual guest: a prankster got past security to jump off the 10m platform. He was fined about $140 (?90) for the stunt. The incident delayed the meet even longer because the joker dropped his housekeys in the pool. 

Records broken since London

Yang Jian, of China, owns two world records heading into the Rio Olymipcs. He broke the record for highest scoring single dive in Aprill 2014 and tied it again in March 2015. Dive 109B, a front 4 1/2 somersault pike, scored perfect 10s and a total of 123.00 points. At the same April 2014 meet, Jian scored a world record high of 616.50 points for the 10m platform competition.

What else to watch for in Rio

Mexico's most decorated athlete, Paola Espinosa, made three Olympic appearances in 2004, 2008 and 2012 and came away with two medals. She won a bronze medal in the synchronized 10m platform in 2008 with partner Tatiana Ortiz and a silver in the same event in 2012 with partner Alejandra Orozco. Alongside Orozco, Espinosa was fourth at the 2015 Worlds.

Four Canadian female standouts - who brand themselves as the FAB IV (on Twitter: @FAB_IV), a nickname derived from their last names - could round out the podiums in Rio. Roseline Filion, Jennifer Abel and Meaghan Benfeito all have prior Olympic experience, while Pamela Ware is expected to make her Olympic debut in Rio. Ware and Abel are one of the only synchronized 3m springboard duos in the world attempting dive 5154B, two and a half somersaults with two twists in the piked position. Filion and Benfeito - the reigning Olympic bronze medalists on the synchronized 10m platform - earned gold in the event at the 2015 Pan American Games and silver at 2015 Worlds.

The United States divers can come onto the Rio scene stronger than ever. Olympic veteran Troy Dumais would make history by becoming the only U.S. diver to appear in five Olympic Games - he already holds the record at four appearances. Along with partner Kristian Ipsen, Dumais snagged his first Olympic medal, a bronze in the 3m synchronized springboard, in London. Ipsen was seventh in the synchronized 3m springboard in a relatively new partnership with Sam Dorman. On the women's side, Abby Johnston, the only active U.S. female medalist from the 2012 Olympics, is expected to return after missing 2013 Worlds.

 

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