Loaded field for men's 10-meter Olympic diving
By BETH HARRIS,
Updated August 10, 2012
LONDON (AP) It won't be a sweep, but China will try and claim its seventh gold in the last diving event of the London Games.
China has won all but one diving event at the Olympics, and now it's up to Lin Yue to try and finish strong when the men's 10-meter platform preliminaries kick off Friday.
But he'll have plenty of competition.
Defending Olympic champion Matthew Mitcham of Australia heads a deep field, and he knows something about beating China. Mitcham upset the Chinese to win four years ago in Beijing, preventing the host nation from sweeping all eight diving gold medals then, too.
China was on track for a sweep in London until Russia won the men's 3-meter springboard title.
Qiu Bo of China, the platform champion at last year's world championships, and Tom Daley of Britain, the 2009 world champ, are also expected to make a run at the title.
David Boudia of the U.S., who won silver at last year's world meet, and Sascha Klein of Germany, the bronze medalist at worlds, are serious contenders, too.
Others in the medals mix include 2008 bronze medalist Gleb Galperin of Russia and countryman Ilya Zakharov, who beat China to win gold on the springboard in London. He was the first non-Chinese diver to win that title since the 1992 Barcelona Games.
Mitcham was the only non-Chinese diver to win in Beijing, thanks to a final dive that recorded the biggest score in the sport's history. The Australian has told his Twitter followers that he would plunge naked off the 10-meter platform if he defends his title at these games.
The British fans will be squarely behind Daley, whose father, Rob, died of brain cancer last year. The younger Daley finished fourth in platform synchro with partner Peter Waterfield in London, but made a mistake that dropped them off the medals podium.
China earned its sixth gold medal at the games in women's 10-meter platform on Thursday. Chen Ruolin became the fourth woman to win titles in the event at successive games. The 19-year-old completed a sweep of the platforn events that she won four years ago.
"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."
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."