The U.S. has been represented at the Olympics by many of the world's best men's divers throughout the history of the Summer Games. Since the resumption of the Games following World War II, American men have earned individual diving golds a total of 17 times.
The U.S. maintains a sizable lead over second-place China in the overall diving medal table. However, China has made rapid progress in narrowing the gap since it first competed in Olympic diving in 1984, especially with the recent addition of the synchronized diving events.
The following list includes brief information on the American men that I consider the best in the sport since 1948:
David Boudia: Boudia was one of the diving stars at the recently concluded London Games. He earned a bronze in the synchronized platform with partner Nicholas McCrory, and later took gold in the 10-meter platform. His victory in the platform resulted in the first individual diving medal for American men since 1996.
Bob Clotworthy: Clotworthy was one of the many diving greats for the U.S. in the 1950s. He won 3-meter springboard medals in 1952 and 1956-with the former bronze and the latter gold.
Bruce Harlan: Harlan earned a pair of podium finishes for the U.S. at the 1948 Olympics in London. He captured gold in the 3-meter springboard, and added silver in the 10-meter platform.
Sammy Lee: Overcoming racial prejudice in the 1930s and '40s to pursue his dream of becoming a diver, Sammy Lee-of Korean descent-won a total of three medals between the 1948 and 1952 Olympics. He was victorious for consecutive golds in the 10-meter platform in '48 and '52.
Mark Lenzi: Lenzi was a top performer in the 3-meter springboard for the U.S. in the 1990s. He was victorious in the event at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, and followed that up with a bronze-medal podium finish in the same event in 1996.
Greg Louganis: Without a doubt the best-ever men's diver for the U.S., Louganis won five World Championships titles over the course of his illustrious career. His record in the Olympics was nearly perfect-with four golds and a silver-at Summer Games from 1976-1988.
Gary Tobian: Tobian won gold in the 3-meter springboard in 1960 at the Rome Games, and also earned silver-medal podium finishes in the 10-meter platform in 1956 and '60.
Bob Webster: Webster was a dominant performer in the 10-meter platform in the first half of the 1960s. He won a pair of golds in the event between the 1960 and 1964 Olympics.
Related content: Summer Olympics History: American Greats in Women's Diving
Patrick Hattman covered the London Games for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He is already looking forward to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
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