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Final Dive Drama for Clark, Glory Beckons for Ruehl

July 27, 1996

ATLANTA (AP) _ American Mary Ellen Clark, the women’s platform diving bronze medalist in the 1992 Olympics, moved into position today to win another medal.

Clark was third going into tonight’s final with 174.87 points, having rallied from 12th place after Friday’s preliminaries.

She trailed China’s defending champion Fu Mingxia (179.94) and Guo Jingjing (177.30).

``The difference between today and Friday is just my approach to things,″ Clark said. ``The choice is mine. I can be aggressive or tentative. I chose to go after it.″

The 33-year-old Clark is trying to become the oldest Olympic diving medalist.

American 18-year-old Becky Ruehl didn’t fare as well in the semifinals. Ruehl dropped from second to seventh after the semis with 163.38 points.

The top 12 divers advanced to the final, where results are determined by combining scores from the semifinal and final rounds.

Clark, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., made up ground on her fourth dive. She earned four marks of 8.0 and three 7.5s from the judges for the back dive to go from 10th place to fifth.

Fu, 17, never relinquished the lead she held after the preliminaries.

Ruehl, of Lakeside Park, Ky., missed her first dive of the semifinals, a reverse that she overrotated on. That started her slide.

But Ruehl never stopped smiling. She grinned each time the Georgia Tech crowd roared at her introduction.

``I want to enjoy it and show it,″ she said.

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