Olympics: Diving

Boudia wins men’s platform diving gold

American David Boudia wins gold in men’s platform diving. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

American David Boudia has accomplished one of the most stunning upsets of the London Games. Boudia defeated the reigning world champion Qiu Bo and home favorite Tom Daley of Great Britain to win the gold medal in the terrifying 10-meter platform diving event.

“This is so surreal right now,” said Boudia, who is the first American man to win gold in platform diving since Greg Louganis did in 1988 in Seoul. “… This competition is the most fun I ever had.”

There were Union Jacks hanging from every available railing and the shrieks for Daley were piercing. Daley, the 18-year-old electrician’s son from Plymouth, overcame almost unbearable pressure to lead going into the sixth and final dive. His last maneuver was a reverse three and a half somersault that was so good he emerged from the water clapping, to roars. Into that noise walked Boudia, the American from Purdue University.

Boudia performed an elegant back two and a half somersault with two and a half twists, that was virtually flawless. “Once I went into the water, I didn’t know where I was placed,” he said.

His score of 102.60 — his highest of the evening — was enough to put him ahead of Daley by 11.7 points. And it held up even when Qiu, the heavy favorite, performed somersaulting, twisting last plunge that earned a 100.80.

Boudia finished with 568.65 points, Qiu had 566.85 and Daley 556.95.

Boudia, who earlier won a bronze medal in the synchronized platform event, barely made it out of the qualifying round on Friday after a disastrous fourth dive. He was the last of 18 divers to advance to the semifinals. On Saturday, he relied on a relentless focus on one dive at a time.

“I actually had no idea where I was standing, whether I was in medal contention let alone gold contention,” he said.

Divers David Boudia and Tom Daley show off the medals they won in platform diving. (Thomas Coex/Getty Images)

American Boudia fighting for diving gold

In an absolutely riveting men’s 10-meter platform diving competition, Britain’s superstar diver Tom Daley took a fractional lead over American David Boudia with just one dive remaining, both of them just ahead of current world champion Qiu Bo of China. Daley and Boudia each executed stunning, tumbling somersauts into the water, which left Daley leading with 466.20 points to Boudia’s 466.05 after five rounds.

David Boudia leads through four rounds in platform diving

David Boudia, shown here competing in the semifinals, is in the lead after four rounds of diving in the final. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

David Boudia of Purdue University provoked gasps of disbelief in the Olympic Park Aquatic Center when he took the lead in the men’s 10-platform diving after the fourth of six rounds.

With just two dives remaining Boudia held a slim margin over the reigning world champion Qiu Bo of China, with a gorgeously executed three and a half somersault that pleased the judges. China swept gold in all 10 diving events at the most recent world championships.

Boudia has strong start in men’s platform diving

David Boudia of Purdue University was the somewhat surprising leader of the 10-meter men’s diving competition at the Aquatic Center after the first of six rounds.

The event was expected to be dominated by British star Tom Daley and the perfectionist world champion Qiu Bo of China. But Boudia was in third place after the semifinals Saturday afternoon, and then opened the evening competition with high marks on his first dive. He took the towering platform and lifted himself into a handstand, then performed a back double somersault with two and half twists before plunging into the pool.

China won seven of eight diving gold medals four years ago in Beijing, and swept all 10 gold at last year’s world championships.

Boudia third, Daley fourth in diving semifinals

David Boudia is in good shape after the 10m platform semifinals. (Michael Dalder — Reuters)

Qiu Bo and Yue Lin staged a battle for the top spot in the semifinals of the men’s platform Saturday at the Aquatics Centre. That was hardly surprising.

But American David Boudia laid claim to the third spot, and that was. Boudia won a bronze here in the synchronized event but struggled in Friday’s preliminaries and earned the 18th and final spot in the semifinals.

Saturday, he was back to his old self, posting scores that only the Chinese could beat. His final dive of the morning, a back 2½ somersault with 2½ twists, drew a 93.60. Then Boudia watched as the rest of the field scrambled for spots in the final 12 who would dive later in the day for the medals (3:30 p.m. ET).

Thomas Daley, Britain’s favorite son, inched his way up the leader board, just as he did Friday. He was seventh after four dives, then fourth after his fifth five scored a 91.80. An 89.10 on his final dive guaranteed him fourth place and a qualifying spot before half the field had event climbed the ladder to the platform.

Nicholas McCrory, who with Boudia won bronze in the synchronized event, dived consistently, hitting 90 on his final dived, and finished seventh.

Yue held a narrow lead after four dives — .60 points – but in the fifth round, he demonstrated the inconsistency that could cost him the gold, scoring just 75.60. Qiu responded with a 94.35, and the tables had turned.

Yue and Qiu were the final two divers. Lin posted a 93.60 to push his overall score to 541.80. Qiu answered with a 97.20 to increase his lead to 563.55.

China’s Qiu, Yue top men’s platform prelims

China’s Yue Lin was the second qualifier for men’s 10-meter platform diving. (AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI)

Qiu Bo of China took the lead in the preliminary round of the 10-meter platform with a stunning second dive, a handstand triple somersault, and never relinquished it.

The rest of the field, however, was changeable through much of the competition, which took more than three hours as 32 divers each performed six dives at the Aquatics Centre.

When it was over, Qiu’s countryman, Yue Lin, had wrestled the second spot from a bevy of challengers. Placement wasn’t as important as making it into the top 18 and advancing to Saturday’s semifinals.

In the third and fourth spot were Germans Sascha Klein and Martin Wolfram. Mexico’s German Sanchez Sanchez and Ivan Garcia Navarro, who partnered to win silver in the synchronized platform event here, were in fifth and sixth.

Britan’s Thomas Daley had a quixotic day. He slowly climbed the leaderboard into ninth after three dives and seventh after four. His fifth five, however, was a disaster – a back 3 ½ somersault that earned just 39.60 points. He needed a solid sixth dive to move on, and he got it, scoring an 84.15 with a reverse 2 ½ somersault – to the relief of the partisan crowd.

American Nick McCrory, who with David Boudia won bronze in the synchronized platform event, finished seventh and very nearly moved on without his diving partner.

Boudia was in eighth place after three dives, but a catastrophic score on his fourth dive – 44.55 – hurt his chances, and when his final dive netted just 70.20 points, he could only watch the scoreboard and hope.

He squeaked in at No. 18. Friday’s scores are erased, and Boudia and the rest can start afresh Saturday.

China’s Qiu takes lead early in prelims

Qui Bo of China heads toward the water. (Fabrice Coffrini — AFP/Getty Images)

Qiu Bo of China performed a stunning armstand triple somersault on his second dive to take the lead in the preliminary round of the 10-meter platform diving Friday at the Aquatics Centre.

Qiu, the world champion in this event a year ago, scored a 99.75 on the dive to take the spot from Mexico’s German Sanchez Sanchez, who led after the first round.

Americans Nick McCrory and David Boudia, the bronze medalists in the synchronized platform event, were in ninth and 10th places, respectively.

The men perform six dives and the top 18 move into Saturday’s semifinals. The final will also be held Saturday.

Chen dominant in winning diving gold

Chen Ruolin demolished the competition in 10m platform diving. (Michael Sohn/AP)

Chen Ruolin led from start to finish to defend her gold medal in platform diving Thursday at the Aquatics Centre, consistently building her lead to win by 56 points.

With the gold out of reach, the divers began scrambling for silver and bronze. After four rounds, just 5.65 points separated the second- and eighth-place divers in the field of 12. Three divers had been in second – Melissa Wu of Australia for the first two rounds, her teammate Brittany Broben for the third and Julia Prokopchuk of Ukraine in the fourth.

Broben’s fourth-round dive, a back 3 ½ somersault, drew a score of 57.75. She needed something spectacular in the final round, and she got it, a back 2 ½ somersault with 1 ½ twists that earned an 81.60 and the silver medal.

Pandela Rinong Pamg of Malaysia took the bronze by 1.1 points over Wu.

Chen, 19, also won gold medals in the synchronized platform event here and in Beijing four years ago.

Chen’s teammate Yadan Hu, 16, won the silver in this event last year at the world championships but started with a 54.00 and her second dive was worse, netting just a 43.20 and putting her last in the field, a spot in which Chinese divers seldom find themselves. Her final two dives were among the best of the day by anyone, moving her into ninth, but it was too little, too late for medal contention.

No Americans qualified for the final.