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The first sport practised by Mingxia Fu was gymnastics. At the age of nine, she turned to diving, and in 1991, aged 12, became the youngest world champion in history.
In 1992, for the Olympic Games in Barcelona, the Chinese youngster was entered for the 10m platform event. Aged barely 14, Mingxia won easily with a score of 461.43 points, almost 50 points ahead of her nearest rival. This gold medal was the first of her impressive Olympic collection.
Four years later at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, in 1996, the Olympic champion was entered for two diving events: the platform and the three metres. Mingxia Fu won gold in both. No other woman had ever achieved this since Ingrid Krämer-Engel-Gulbin at the 1960 Games in Rome.
At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, synchronised diving events were included on the programme. With her compatriot Jingjing Guo, Mingxia formed an impressive team. Impressive, but not unbeatable, as they were beaten in the three-metres synchronised diving event by the Russian pair, Vera Ilyina and Ioulia Pakhalina. The Chinese duo earned a silver medal for their performance. In the individual three-metre competition, Mingxia Fu and Jingjing Guo were again at the top of the rankings. Mingxia beat her younger compatriot and won her fourth gold medal, bringing her Olympic total to five. This enabled Mingxia to retire from competition as the most successful female diver in Olympic history, ahead even of legends such as Patricia McCormick or Dorothy Poynton Hill.