A new star emerged on the 10m tower on Sunday. In the very last dive of the men’s final, ex-gymnast Cassiel Rousseau hit a near-perfect forward 4½ to win gold for Australia. Maddison Keeney gave Australia a second gold in the women’s 3m.
On the penultimate day of diving at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the men’s 10m final was one for the ages. It all came down to the last dive. Rylan Wiens of Canada threw down a gorgeous back 2½ with 2½ twists for 97.20 points. Next, Matty Lee of England launched forward 4½ which earned 99.90, but it wasn’t enough to overtake Wiens. Then, the last diver of the night, Cassiel Rousseau, uncorked the same dive as Lee – the hardest on his list – and it was nearly perfect, earning 103.60 points to clinch gold for Australia with a huge 501.30 total score. (Wiens took silver; Lee nabbed bronze.)
Here’s how the drama unfolded.
Men’s 10m Final
Before the final began, new medalists were guaranteed in this event because the 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medalist Matthew Dixon withdrew after prelims with a back injury.
By the fourth round (of six), Australia’s Rousseau had built a 20.85-point lead over Wiens of Canada, and Lee was lagging in fourth. In the fifth round, however, Cassiel faltered a bit on his back 3½, while Wiens vaulted into second place on a dive that scored 90.75 points (his second 90-plus score of the night). Suddenly, Wiens was just 2.10 points behind Rousseau with one dive remaining.
In the final round, Wiens took off and nailed his 5255B – earning his third score over 90 points (97.20 to be exact). Lee dove next and topped it with a 99.90 score, but he still trailed the Canadian by 15.8 points.
So the order of medalists all depended on the final diver, Rousseau, an ex-gymnast from Brisbane whose grandfather, Michel, won Olympic gold in track cycling at the 1956 Melbourne Games.
With everything on the line, Rousseau ripped it and the judges rewarded him with three 9.0s, three 9.5s and the lone 10 of the Commonwealth Games.
“Before the dive I said to myself, ‘If I land on my stomach, I don’t really care;’” Rousseau said afterwards, but “as soon as I hit the water, I knew I was going to get some high marks.
“For Australia, I feel like I’ve done them pretty proud, and for myself and my mum,” Rousseau said. “That’s pretty much the top three I want to do proud."
And this is just the beginning. “I don’t think I’ve reached close to my potential just yet,” the 21-year-old Rousseau said. Next time he competes, look for some new body art. “Every competition I go to, I like to get a little new tattoo,” he said. “I might get two in England after this performance.”
Wiens, who captured his second silver medal of the Games, isn’t finished either.
“I came here to get as many medals as possible; I’ve got a mixed synchro coming up tomorrow so we’re going for another one,” he said. But Saturday was sweet, too. “I could hear my mum screaming before every dive which is really awesome,” Wiens said. “After my second [to] last dive…I looked at my coach, gave her a little smile and [thought] yeah, I think I got this. From start to finish I’ve had a blast, the time of my life.”
Lee, too, was content. His 10m bronze was England’s 13th diving medal at these Games.
“I could have done better today,” Lee admitted. “The second dive wasn’t very good and I thought I was out of it. I'm really happy that I ended my whole Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on 99.90 doing a forward 4½ somersaults. If I ended on a rubbish dive, I would be fuming. It's a psychological thing; whatever you end on is what you remember most."
Women’s 3m Final
The night ended with the women’s 3m final, a two-way battle for gold between Nur Sabri of Malaysia, 23, and Maddison Keeney of Australia, 26. After three dives, Sabri led by less than 7 points. But Keeney pulled ahead in the fourth round (of five), by scoring 75.95 on her hardest dive, a forward 3½, which was also the top-scoring dive in the final. Keeney then picked up a trio of 8.0s on her last dive (a forward 2½ with 1 twist) to clinch her second gold of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. (Keeney won the 3m synchro event with Anabelle Smith one day earlier.)
Afterwards, Keeney said, "I think I was more excited for [Rousseau’s] gold medal than for mine because I know how hard he works. He’s a really big inspiration for me. I was standing there before my last dive thinking, ‘what would Cass do right now, as he did half an hour ago?’ That got me over the line."
Sabri took silver, 18.05 points behind Keeney.
“It’s surreal,” Sabri said, “because I wasn’t even aiming for a medal. The competition is very tough. I just wanted have fun.”
She didn’t even know she was leading after round one, two, and three.
“Really?” Sabri said afterwards. “I don’t usually look at the scoreboard.”
Canada’s Mia Vallee won the battle for bronze, outscoring 18-year-old Desharne Bent-Ashmeil of England. It was Vallee’s third medal in three days at the Games. (She won the 1m event on Friday and took bronze on Saturday in the 3m synchro event.)
What to Watch Monday
Diving concludes on Monday with two mixed events: synchro 3m and synchro 10m. Both are new to the Commonwealth Games.