China back on top with Olympic diving gold in 10m
By BETH HARRIS,
Updated August 9, 2012
LONDON (AP) Chen Ruolin was too good on the 10-meter platform again.
The 19-year-old Chinese diver won the women's title at the London Olympics on Thursday night, completing a sweep of the platform events for the second straight games.
Chen joined Americans Dorothy Poynton-Hill and Patty McCormick, and countrywoman Fu Mingxia as the only women to win individual 10-meter titles at successive games.
She helped China extend its streak of earning at least one medal in women's platform at the last eight Olympics, the longest such run for any country in any diving event.
"I'm very relaxed," Chen said through a translator. "It's like it's not the Olympic Games. I feel no high pressure."
Chen totaled 422.30 points during the five-dive final, winning by 55.80 points. She earlier won gold in the 10-meter synchronized event.
"I feel very pleased to have another gold medal for China," she said.
Chen was dominant through all three rounds of the competition. She finished the morning semifinal with a 47.35-point lead, although scores from the earlier rounds didn't carry over.
She earned 9.0s for her last dive, a back 2 1/2 somersault with 1 1/2 twists pike. She got out of the pool, took her traditional bow and walked away without waiting for her scores.
When Chen was introduced as the Olympic champion, she walked around the podium and shook hands with the other medalists before taking the top position.
"She's unbelievable," silver medalist Brittany Broben of Australia said. "She deserves it. She works so hard. She dives the best of anyone."
China has won six of seven diving gold medals with only the men's platform remaining. The diving superpower was upset by Russia in the men's 3-meter springboard, spoiling its bid to sweep all eight diving events in London.
But the Chinese can equal their seven golds from Beijing with a victory in the men's platform final on Saturday.
Broben, a 16-year-old diver competing in her first Olympics, finished second at 366.50. She jumped up and down and ran to hug her coach after realizing she had earned a medal.
"Please don't pinch me because I never want to wake up. It's amazing," she said, wearing an Australia flag featuring a boxing kangaroo around her shoulders. "My coach was holding his breath on the last dive."
Broben's legs were shaking as she walked out on the 33-foot tower to do a back 2 1/2 somersaults with 1 1/2 twists pike. She was fourth and needed a solid score to get into the medals mix. She got it, totaling 81.60 points.
"My coach was like, 'Whatever happens, happens. Have fun,'" she said. "But I knew it had to be pretty good to get a medal."
Pandelela Pamg of Malaysia won the bronze at 359.20 for her country's first Olympic medal in diving and first in any sport besides badminton.
"Diving is not as famous as other sports," Pamg said. "I hope this will inspire other youth to take up this sport and support the Malaysian team."
Pamg has been busy in London. She took eighth in 3-meter springboard synchro and seventh in 10-meter synchro.
Pamg didn't advance out of the 10-meter preliminaries four years ago in Beijing. At the 2009 world meet, she and her partner won bronze in the synchro event, becoming the first Malaysians to win a world medal.
"I'm very proud and very honored to win the first medal for Malaysia," she said. "I hope Malaysians are proud of me."
Melissa Wu of Australia finished fourth at 358.10.
Chen's teammate, Hu Yudan, rallied from 12th after four dives to finish ninth. The 16-year-old who is 61 days younger than Broben, finished second at last year's world championships.
"She still has lots of chances," Chen said. "She needs to be more grown up and more stable. She will be a nice girl."
Paola Espinosa of Mexico was third after four dives, but she botched her final dive to fall out of medal contention after earning silver in 10-meter synchro at her third Olympics.