China wins another diving gold
LONDON -- China is perfect on the diving board and the medals podium.
The world's diving superpower completed a sweep of the synchronized events at the Olympics on Wednesday, winning the men's 3-meter springboard and putting China halfway toward taking all the gold medals.
The Chinese also won the men's 10-meter platform and women's 3-meter and 10-meter synchro golds.
"I think Chinese divers have done a great job so far," Qin Kai said through a translator. "We have four golds now and they all came with perfect performances."
Qin and partner Luo Yutong led all six rounds of the final, totaling 477.00 points. It was Qin's second straight springboard synchro title, having won the event four years ago in Beijing with a different partner.
The Chinese won seven of eight gold medals at their home Olympics.
"Our team leaders told us that we were the closest country to win all the medals (in Beijing)," Luo said. "Of course, there's a lot of pressure but they told us to only worry about ourselves. Be ourselves. Don't worry about the sweep. Showcase the best of China diving to the whole world, that's what we've got to do."
Qin pumped his fist as he stepped up to the top spot on the podium. Luo was competing in his first Olympics, although he won a world championship in synchro springboard last year.
Ilya Zakharov and Evgeny Kuznetsov of Russia took the silver at 459.63. It was the country's 100th silver since it resumed competing at the Olympics as a single nation in the 1994 Lillehammer Games.
Zakharov and Kuznetsov stopped during the medalists parade to dip their medals into the diving well.
"It's a Russian tradition," Zakharov said. "We do that so we'll get more medals. If you put your medals in the water, you'll get more medals out of the water."
Kristian Ipsen and Troy Dumais of the U.S. earned the bronze at 446.70.
It was the first medal of Dumais' long career in his fourth Olympics, equaling Greg Louganis for most appearances by a male U.S. diver. The 33-year-old Californian finished fourth in the event at the 2000 Sydney Games partnering with his brother Justin. They missed out on a medal after botching their last dive.
"This medal is also for my brother. I thought about him," said Dumais, who finished sixth in Athens. "Things happen the way they're supposed to happen. I wouldn't be the athlete that I am if I gave up."
Dumais' coach, Matt Scoggin, said, "He still had that fire in him when a lot of people would have retired. It took longer than he wanted, but arguably it was worth the wait."
After a 12-year medal drought, the Americans won a silver and two bronzes in three of the four synchro events. They didn't qualify in women's 10-meter platform.
Ipsen, an Olympic rookie, put pressure on himself to make sure Dumais earned a medal this time.
"He said, 'Don't even think about it, let's just have fun and the result will come,' and it did," Ipsen said. "I helped him achieve one of his dreams. It feels even better."
Qin and Luo led the second-place Americans by just 7.02 points after four dives.
But the Chinese hit their toughest dive of the final in the fifth round. They scored 104.88 points for a forward 4½ somersault tuck, with a 3.8 degree of difficulty. They barely made a splash entering the water and emerged from the pool to see the judges awarded them scores ranging from 8.5 to 9.5 for synchronization.
"I tried to tell my partner to relax and don't be nervous," Qin said. "In the second half of the competition I had a bellyache because I was still a little bit nervous."
Ipsen and Dumais also went for their hardest dive -- worth a 3.5 degree of difficulty -- but managed just 84.00 points on mostly scores of 8.0. That allowed the Chinese to increase their lead to 27.90 points going into their final dive.
Qin and Luo were outscored by the Russians in the last round -- 100.32 to 89.10 -- but they proved no threat to China's superiority.
Zakharov and Kuznetsov, third behind China and the U.S. after the next-to-last round, rallied for the silver on their forward 4½ somersault tuck.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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