Unknowns dive onto center stage

Most Greeks were completely unaware of the existence of their sport until late on Monday, but when Thomas Bimis and Nikos Siranidis won a gold medal in the men’s synchronized diving 3-meter springboard event they gave the Olympic host nation its biggest reason to cheer since the successful opening night on Friday. Suddenly everyone knew about synchronized diving, which only became an Olympic sport in 2000. Yesterday, the Hellenic Postal Service presented a stamp bearing the portrait of Greece’s first gold medalists of these Games. «The Olympics are not only about soccer and track. There are other sports. Some people think swimming is the only aquatic sport. Now they will learn about diving. We do our work and we have made our presence felt. We hope this is the beginning for more medals. Some people don’t know about our sport and they want to know how deep we go and what oxygen bottles we carry! It’s time for them to learn about diving,» Bimis, a petty officer in the navy, said yesterday. Siranidis added, «Last night was a difficult night, full of joy, laughter and tears.» He expressed special thanks to his doctor, Giorgos Tsikouris, who helped him recover from a serious car accident, allowing him to join Bimis in intensive training that began in June.

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