China set to match diving gold haul from '08
By BETH HARRIS,
Updated August 11, 2012
LONDON (AP) There's one more gold medal left in diving at the London Olympics, and China is perfectly positioned to win it.
Qui Bo heads into the 10-meter platform semifinal on Saturday as the top qualifier with 563.70 points. His teammate, Lin Yue, was another 31.55 points behind in second.
The top 12 men will qualify for the evening final.
China has won six golds in diving so far at these games, losing only the men's 3-meter springboard. One more victory would allow the diving superpower to equal its results from four years ago in Beijing.
Qui, the 19-year-old current world platform champion, took the lead for good after the second of six dives in the preliminaries on Friday. He was nearly flawless against a field loaded with big names.
Defending Olympic champion Matthew Mitcham of Australia, who spoiled China's bid for a gold-medal sweep in Beijing, was inconsistent but finished ninth.
"I know that I'm not going to be at my best compared to how I was at Beijing," said Mitcham, who has struggled with injuries that disrupted his training. "While I expect to dive much, much better, really all I'm expecting is to dive the best I can with what I've got."
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.
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.
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."
The biggest cheers on Friday 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.
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."