London 2012 Diving

Diving day 8 - David Boudia (USA) crowned new champion in 10m platform, Daley (GBR) secures bronze

London 2012 Diving

The entire United Kingdom had been expecting this final since 2008. In January of that year, Thomas (Tom) Daley became the youngest winner ever of a British 10m platform senior title at the age of… 13! He got immediately spotted as a bright and talented diver, and when two months later he won the European crown in his pet event, the experts were unanimous: Beijing 2008 (in August that year) was still too early but this "boy" would have a rendezvous with history in 2012, at his home Games in London! Since then, many competitions have been contested and many successes have been collected, namely the 2009 world title in Rome (ITA), at 15. Today, August 11, millions of UK TV spectators and many thousands of fans in the Aquatics Centre turned their attention to the now called "poster boy": 15th of the heats (after a missed back 3 ½ somersault, DD 3.6) and fourth in the semis, Daley certainly felt the weight of pressure coming into tonight's final.

Besting him in the semis, Bo Qiu (CHN), the 2011 world champion, Yue Lin (CHN), 2008 Olympic gold medallist in the 10m platform synchro, and David Boudia (USA), silver medallist behind Qiu in Shanghai, were his main rivals to reach the highest podium. The semi-finals in the morning had been already impressive, with few mistakes and very high marks for the majority of divers. The (negative) surprises at this stage were the elimination of 2008 Olympic champion Matthew Mitcham (AUS, 13th) and of the 2007 world champion Gleb Galperin (RUS, 16th), while in the heats, Malaysian Bryan Nickson (19th) and Peter Waterfield (GBR, 23rd) were not at their best level.

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Diving day 7 - Chen (CHN) revalidates 10m title; Australia shines with new star

London 2012 Diving

The seventh final of the diving programme at these Games, the women's 10m platform, was not very thrilling in terms of the gold medal outcome but was amazingly interesting if we consider the minor medals. 2008 Olympic and 2011 world champion Ruolin Chen (CHN) calmly displayed her supremacy during the decisive stage of the competition, capturing gold with a total 422.30. This Chinese success came after a hiccup in the men's 3m springboard, where Russia's Ilya Zakharov earned the only non-Chinese gold so far in the diving competition (the last event on the programme being the men's 10m platform – final to be held on August 11). Chen reconfirmed the Chinese pride in this discipline, delivering a flawless programme, which allowed her to dominate the final from the very first dive. It is the fourth Olympic gold for Chen, after her 2008 and 2012 successes (in the individual and synchro 10m platform).

"I feel honoured to win one more gold medal for the Chinese team. I just hope China can get more gold! The more, the better. I still don't know how I'll celebrate this!" said a delighted Chen. Asked about what she has seen during these Games, she confessed: "While competing, I don't pay any attention to what others are doing, but before the diving events I watched the performances of Sun Yang in the pool and I loved it!"

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Diving day 6 - Ilya Zakharov (RUS) triumphs in the 3m springboard

London 2012 Diving

Four hours after their first gold in the Aquatics Centre (thanks to the duet in synchronised swimming), Russia celebrated their second title in the FINA sports at these Games by winning the men's 3m springboard of the diving programme. In the most thrilling and interesting final so far in this discipline, Ilya Zakharov proved that the difficult balance between choosing an easy programme (with less risks) and selecting a very complicated set of dives (with its associated chances of failing) is one of the keys for success in diving. Accumulating a total DD of 21.5 in his six dives, the Russian champion was by far the competitor who risked the most – at the end, this choice was fruitful and allowed Zakharov to end the four consecutive Olympic title streak for China in the event: Ni Xiong won the event in 1996 and 2000, Bo Peng in 2004 and Chong He in 2008. 

Defending champion Chong He - who, in addition to his Olympic title, has medalled five times at the FINA World Championships - was clearly the diver to beat in the final. He had finished first in the semis and second in the preliminaries (where the Russian was better). But He never appeared to be totally serene and despite choosing also a difficult set of dives (total DD of 21.0), he lacked spark in each of them. The situation became so complicated for him that at the end of the third round (there were six) he placed fifth. He recovered to fourth after dives 4 and 5 and then mastered the forward 2 ½ somersault 3 twists (pike, DD 3.9) to finally get the bronze in a total 524.15. A disappointing result for He, used to shine at the highest level - he was 2009 and 2001 world champion in Rome and Shanghai, respectively. 

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Diving day 5 - Minxia Wu (CHN) wins 3m springboard and gets sixth Olympic medal

London 2012 Diving

If there was an image to retain from the women’s 3m springboard final, it would surely be the immense frustration of Tania Cagnotto (ITA), when after her fifth dive she saw a “3” next to her name. China's Minxia Wu had one last dive to perform but given her advance and dominance, it was sure that the “3” in front of the Italian’s name would soon be a “4”. When the final ranking was displayed on the scoreboard, the “4” was indeed there, in front of Cagnotto’s name, indicating that she had lost the medal by a mere 0.20 to Mexico’s Laura Sanchez.

Participating at her fourth Olympics and after another fourth place in the synchronised event here in London, Cagnotto’s disappointment was huge – she had qualified second in the semis and was hoping not only to obtain her first Olympic medal but also to get the first podium appearance for Italy in Aquatics at these Games. Her third dive, a forward 3 ½ somersault (pike, DD 3.1) was perhaps responsible for this outcome: due to a slight over rotation and an unsuccessful entry in the water, Cagnotto obtained a poor 68.20 total from the judges. From that moment on, she could not recover and finished at the podium’s door.

For the gold medal, things were clear from the beginning – Wu always appeared to be the final's strongest and most regular diver. Without any notorious mistake during her five-dive programme, the 26-year-old Chinese star obtained her sixth Olympic award (414.00 points) and first individual gold after being champion in the synchronised event in 2004, 2008 and 2012, second in the 3m springboard in Athens 2004 and third at the “Water Cube” in 2008. She now shares the title of most medalled athlete in Olympic history with retired legendary diver Jingjing Guo (CHN). With this title, China now has five victories out of the five events held at the London Aquatics Centre so far and maintains quite preserved their hopes of getting a clean sweep of the eight Olympic titles at stake.

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Diving day 4 - China completes clean sweep in synchro events

London 2012 Diving

altIn the short history of the men's 3m springboard synchro at the Olympic Games (since 2000) and at the FINA World Championships (since 1998), China only lost the gold medal on two occasions: in 2004, at the Athens Games, when a succession of mistakes from both China and Russia allowed the incredible victory of the Greek pair, and in 2003, at the Barcelona Worlds, where a stronger Russian duet managed to challenge the Chinese supremacy. These two exceptions will remain exceptions: in the fourth day of the diving programme at the 2012 Olympics, Kai Qin and Yutong Luo easily got the fourth gold medal for China in this discipline, winning the final in 477.00. That was 17 points more than the silver medallists, the team of Russia, composed by Ilya Zakharov/Evgeny Kuznetsov (459.63) and more than 30 points over third placed team US Kristian Ipsen/Troy Dumais (446.70).

Qin, 26 years old, is one of the most experienced members of the Chinese squad, having already in his roll of honour two gold medals from Beijing 2008 (individual and synchro 3m springboard) and five awards at the FINA World Championships, since 2007. For Luo, this was his first Olympic success, after three podium presences at world level, one of which being the 2011 title in the same event with Qin. 

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Diving day 3 - Chen (CHN) brilliantly revalidates title in 10m synchro

London 2012 Diving

altLike in the men's event, Mexico managed to be the best representative of the "rest of the world" against China in the women's 10m platform synchro, the third event of the Olympic diving programme of London 2012. Ruolin Chen and Hao Wang were naturally the athletes to beat, but as in so many occasions no one managed to beat them. Always very consistent from the first dive, this was an opportunity for Chen to revalidate the 2008 Olympic crown, this time with a different partner (at the "Water Cube", she got the gold with Xin Wang). This combination is not new and has been successful also at world level – in 2011, at the FINA World Championships in Shanghai (CHN), Wang and Chen also obtained a comfortable victory. It was the third gold medal out of three diving events at these Olympics for China.

"Four years ago, I was younger and with less experience. I was a bit nervous. Today, I feel more mature and more relaxed," declared Chen, who had also won the individual 10m event in Beijing. "Diving brings me something different. It brings something that most people cannot get," added Chen, visibly happy with this outcome.



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Diving day 2 - China clinches 10m synchro title, Daley and Waterfield disappoint fans

London 2012 Diving

With just one silver (in cycling) and one bronze (in swimming, thanks to Rebecca Adlington) at the end of the first two days of their Games, the whole country was relying on the likes of Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield to perhaps get the first gold in London. Long before the start of the diving men's 10m platform synchronised event, thousands of spectators headed to the Aquatics Centre hoping for a home triumph in one of the most challenging but also most interesting event of the diving Olympic programme. Enthusiastically cheering the British pair at each of their six dives, the public was not enough to even secure a medal for the British duet, who finished fourth. The victory went to China's Yuan Cao and Yanquan Zhang (first Olympic participation), who totalled 486.78, ahead of Mexico's German Sanchez and Ivan Garcia (silver, with 468.90 points) and USA Nicholas McCrory/David Boudia (bronze, with 463.47).

Until the end of round 2 (out of 6), with dives limited to a 2.0 DD no team had made any major mistake. On the subsequent attempt, Daley and Waterfield, who were already in the lead, performed a flawless back 3 ½ somersault (tuck) and consolidated their advance over the Chinese pair. The turning point of the competition happened in the fourth round, when Daley lacked some rotation and spoiled a reverse 3 ½ somersault (tuck) and received a poor 71.28 from the judges. The British duet paid a very high price for this error and went immediately back to fourth position. Until the end, the fate of Daley and Waterfield did not change, provoking some frustration on the thousands of fans that were at the Aquatics Centre to support them.

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Diving day 1 - Wu enters in Olympic history

London 2012 Diving

altMinxia Wu and Zi He from China were the first Olympic champions in 2012 after winning the final of the women's 3m springboard in the Aquatics Centre. Leading from the very first dive until the end of the competition, the Chinese pair concluded with a total 346.20 points, much ahead of silver medallists Abigail Johnston and Kelci Bryant (USA, 321.90) and third-place finisher Emilie Heymans and Jennifer Abel (CAN, 316.80). This success represents the fifth Olympic medal for Wu, who won this event also in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 at the time together with diving legend Jingjing Guo. Moreover, Wu has two other Olympic individual awards: the silver in the 3m springboard in the Hellenic capital and the bronze in the same event at the "Water Cube". She is now the second best female diver in Olympic history, only behind Guo (four gold and two silver). Besides, she is the only female diver obtaining three consecutive Olympic crowns – a feat only obtained in the men's field by Klaus Dibiasi (ITA) in the 10m platform (in 1968, 1972 and 1976).

Very concentrated and regular throughout the five-dive final, Wu had already been successful with He in the final of the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai (CHN). At FINA's major competitions and since 2001 in Fukuoka, she has accumulated 12 medals. For Zi He, this was her first Olympic success.

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London 2012, Day 6: Bo Qiu and synchro duo Zi He and Minxia Wu complete China's golden sweep

London 2012 Diving

China was untouchable at the 18th FINA Visa Diving World Cup in London (GBR), claiming all eight titles on offer. The last two finals of this edition saw Chinese great Bo Qiu walking away with one victory in the men's 10m platform (574.90 points) and partners Zi He and Minxia Wu being the obvious winners in the women's 3m springboard synchro (345.30 points). 

In the men's 10m platform, the crowd was delighted with eye-opening performances in this event known for featuring spectacular dives. It is in this event that the dives are the most complicated and the marks the highest. The degree of difficulty was of a very high level this season. Two competitors had a combination of a maximum degree of difficulty (DD) - 4.1. It implied a 4.5 Inward somersaults in tucked position, a really unique dive.

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London 2012, Day 5: China's Minxia Wu and Zi He finish 1-2 in 3m springboard

London 2012 Diving

Chinese Minxia Wu and Zi He did not disappoint on Day 5 of the FINA Visa Diving World Cup in London (GBR), delivering a brilliant performance in the women's 3m springboard and respectively bagging gold and silver. Wu emerged triumphant with a top-ranking score of 368.95 while teammate He, equally outstanding, followed not far behind with a total of 365.40 points.

Already in the semi-final, the Chinese had a firm lock on the top spots, holding at bay any challenger. Pamela Ware's (CAN) score was the closest (327.60). But the gap between the Canadian diver and all other podium contenders was so slight that any of them could easily reach the third spot. Veteran diver Anna Lindberg (SWE) was fourth at this stage and Italian star Tania Cagnotto only ninth. 

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