Diving update: China dominant but not perfect at Rio halfway point

Diving update at halfway point

Maria Lenk Aquatics Center

The 2016 Rio Olympics diving slate is halfway complete with four synchronized events in the books and four individual events remaining.

China, which entered the Olympics as the odds-on favorite in all eight events, will not leave Brazil with a clean sweep.

Here’s a snapshot look at what’s transpired and what’s still to come…

MEDAL COUNT

China — 4 (three gold, one bronze)
Great Britain — 2 (one gold, one bronze)
USA — 2 (two silver)
Italy — 1 (silver)
Malaysia — 1 (silver)
Australia — 1 (bronze)
Canada — 1 (bronze)

RECAPPING THE SYNCHRONIZED EVENTS

Women’s synchronized 3m springboard

Gold — China — Wu Minxia & Shi Tingmao
Silver — Italy — Tania Cagnotto & Francesca Dellapé
Bronze — Australia — Maddison Keeney & Anabelle Smith

Wu set five Olympic records with her gold medal in the synchronized springboard as the Chinese distanced themsevles from the field. Wu now owns the records for the most diving gold medals by an individual (five), the most diving medals won by a woman (seven), the most gold medals in a single event (four in women’s synchronized 3m springboard), the most Olympics Games with a diving medal (four — tied with Canada’s Emilie Heymans), and the oldest woman to win diving gold (30).

Cagnotto, 31, has been competing in Olympic diving events since the 2000 Games. After missing out on two medals by the narrowest of margins in London last time, the daughter of four-time diving medalist Giorgio Cagnotto finally reached the podium this year, adding a silver medal to the family heirlooms.

Men’s synchronized 3m springboard 

Gold — Great Britain — Jack Laugher & Chris Mears
Silver — USA — Sam Dorman & Michael Hixon
Bronze — China — Cao Yuan & Qin Kai

A strong list from start to finish executed by Laugher and Mears earned Great Britain its first ever gold medal in Olympic diving. It also snapped China’s streak of synchronized victories, which dated back to a wild men’s synchronized springboard in the 2004 Athens Games.

Dorman and Hixon, competing in just their second major event together, nailed their final dive to leapfrog the Chinese and log the USA’s best ever finish in the men’s 3m.

Women’s synchronized 10m platform

Gold — China — Chen Ruolin & Liu Huixia
Silver — Malaysia — Pandelela Rinong Pamg & Cheong Jun Hoong
Bronze — Canada — Meaghan Benfeito & Roseline Filion

Chen would have become the greatest champion in Olympic diving history were it not for countrywoman Wu’s gold medal two days prior. Chen, 23, and Wu, 30, are now tied with the most diving gold medals by an individual in Olympic history. Chen is an impressive five-for-five, amassing her record-setting five gold medals in just five career Olympic events. Americans Amy Cozad and Jessica Parratto, making their Olympic debut, placed seventh.

Men’s synchronized 10m platform

Gold — China — Chen Aisen & Lin Yue
Silver — USA — David Boudia & Steele Johnson
Bronze — Great Britain — Thomas Daley & Daniel Goodfellow

Chen and Lin dominated the men’s 10m event with an Olympic record point total of 496.98, receing a number of 10s in their program.

Americans Boudia and Johnson, however, put together an impressive list to record the United State’s best ever finish in the event. Boudia, alongside partner Nick McCrory, set the previous mark with a bronze medal in 2012.

SETTING UP THE INDIVIDUAL EVENTS

Unlike the synchronized events, which go straight to the final, all four individual diving events include a preliminary and semifinal round to tee up the final.

Men perform six dives in each round while the women perform five.

The top 18 divers advance from the preliminary to the semifinal and the top 12 divers from the semifinal advance to the final.

Scores do not carry over from round to round with the top three point totals in the final deciding the medalists.

If there is a tie for 18th in the preliminary or for 12th in the semifinal, both divers advance.

Women’s individual 3m springboard

Preliminary — Friday, Aug. 12 at 2:30pm ET
Seminfinal — Saturday, Aug. 13 at 3pm ET
Final — Sunday, Aug. 14 at 3pm ET with medal ceremony to follow

The Americans: Kassidy Cook (21) and Abby Johnston (26)

Men’s individual 3m springboard 

Preliminary — Monday, Aug. 15 at 2:15pm ET
Seminfinal — Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 9am ET
Final — Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 5pm ET with medal ceremony to follow

The Americans: Kristian Ipsen (23) and Michael Hixon (22)

Women’s individual 10m platform

Preliminary — Wednesday, Aug. 17 at 2pm
Seminfinal — Thursday, Aug. 18 at 9am
Final — Thursday, Aug. 18 at 3pm with medal ceremony to follow

The Americans: Jessica Parratto (22) and Katrina Young (24)

Men’s individual 10m platform

Preliminary — Friday, Aug. 19 at 3pm
Seminfinal — Saturday, Aug. 20 at 10am
Final — Saturday, Aug. 20 at 3:30pm with medal ceremony to follow

The Americans: David Boudia (27) and Steele Johnson (20)

EMOTIONAL MOMENTS

Through just four events, there have plenty of tear-jerking moments — both good and bad — at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Center diving pool…

  • Boudia and Johnson deliver USA’s first medal — a silver — saving their best dive for their final attempt
  •  Laugher and Mears deliver Great Britain’s first ever diving gold medal
  • USA leapfrogs China on final dive to claim silver in men’s synchronized 3m
  • Final dive leaves Canada just short of podium in women’s synchronized 10m
  • After heartbreak in London, Italy’s Cagnotto wins her first Olympic medal in 16 years of competition
  • Brazilian diving icon Juliana Veloso’s executes final dive of Olympic career in front of hometown fans
  • Brazil’s Luiz Felipe Outerelo narrowly avoids devastating back flop

GREEN WATER

First it was unknown, then it was algae, then it was a chemical imbalance. The reason for Maria Lenk Aquatics Center’s shift from a clear blue to a murky green has been a bit clouded, but it hasn’t impacted the diving in the slightest.

Water tests on Tuesday after the shift showed the water was safe for divers, and Rio officials are working to bring back the blue.

In fact, a number of American divers believe the green water is actually a boon as the starker contrast provides clearer visual cues.

It hasn’t stopped the Internet from having some fun.

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