China's divers 1-2 in men's 10M Olympic prelims
By BETH HARRIS,
Updated August 10, 2012
LONDON (AP) China is looking awfully tough to beat in the last diving event of the London Olympics.
Qui Bo led the 10-meter platform preliminaries with a nearly flawless display on Friday night, qualifying first with 563.70 points. The 19-year-old current world platform champion took the lead for good after the second of six dives in a field loaded with big names.
Qui's 21-year-old teammate, Lin Yue, finished second at 532.15, putting China in position to claim its seventh diving medal of these games.
"They're really good, but I really didn't think about the other athletes," Lin said. "I could tell it was competitive because of the noise in the venue."
Sascha Klein of Germany, the bronze medalist at last year's world championships, was third at 525.05. His teammate, Martin Wolfram, was fourth at 496.80.
The top 18 divers advanced to Saturday's semifinal, with the top 12 making the evening final.
Mexico's two divers were close behind the Germans. German Sanchez was fifth and Ivan Garcia sixth. Both of them performed the toughest dive in the world, an inward 4 1/2 somersault tuck, that carries a 4.1 degree of difficulty.
Even the Chinese didn't attempt that one.
Sanchez scored 98.40 points on it, while Garcia earned 77.90.
"Nothing is written yet," Garcia said. "Anything can happen tomorrow."
Nick McCrory of the U.S. moved on in eighth at 480.90.
"It was a consistent effort - no hits, no misses," the Olympic rookie said. "The goal was just to get through and I'll sharpen up for the semifinal."
Defending Olympic champion Matthew Mitcham, who upset the Chinese four years ago in Beijing, was inconsistent but finished ninth.
"I was overcooking a lot of things," he said. "Everybody did not dive the way I would have expected. Everyone had a scrappy prelim. They go for so long. Prelims are endurance events."
There were 32 divers doing six dives each, which stretched the session to more than three hours.
The biggest cheers were reserved for Tom Daley of Britain, who narrowly missed out on a medal in 10-meter synchro last week. He was 18th after his opening dive, then got as high as seventh before botching his fifth dive.
Daley hit the water hard on a back 2 1/2 somersault pike that earned just 39.60 points and dropped him to 16th.
"My legs were starting to get a bit shaky," he said. "I was trying to keep up my energy. The home crowd gave me an adrenaline boost."
He rebounded with 84.15 points on his last dive to move up to 15th.
"You just don't know what can happen," he said.
The other American, David Boudia, grabbed the 18th and last spot for the semifinal. He dropped from eighth to 17th on his fourth dive, a reverse 3 1/2 somersault tuck, that earned scores of 4.5 after Boudia's feet hit the water and created a huge splash.
"I don't think I scored that low in I don't know how long," he said. "I have nowhere to go but up."
Boudia recovered on his next dive to be 11th, but he scored low on his last dive and left himself on the bubble.
Scores from each round don't carry over, so every diver starts at zero.