Olympics: Diving

China’s Chen leads platform semifinals

China’s Chen Ruolin performs during the women’s 10m platform semifinal. (REUTERS/Toby Melville )

Defending gold medalist Chen Ruolin was the top diver in the platform semifinals, easily moving through to Thursday afternoon’s final (2 p.m. ET) by outscoring her next-closest competitor by nearly 48 points.

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

Meaghan Benefit of Canada was second in qualifying, followed by two  Australians, Brittany Broben and Melissa Wu.

The top 12 divers in the semifinals advance to the finals. Americans Brittany Viola (15th) and Katie Bell (16th) failed to advance.

Chen leads 10-meter platform diving prelims

Chen Ruolin of China scored 392.35 points over five rounds to take the lead after the preliminaries of the women’s 10-meter platform diving event. Chen, 19, already has a gold medal in these Olympics in the 10-meter platform synchro event, and also won both titles four years ago in Beijing.

The top 18 advanced to the Thursday morning’s semifinals, including Americans Katie Bell (ninth place with 326.95 points) and Brittany Viola (14th place with 322.55).

Zakharov ends China’s hold on gold

Russia's Ilya Zakharov earned gold. (Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images)

China’s chokehold on Olympic diving gold ended Tuesday at the Aquatics Centre when Russian Ilya Zakharov took the gold medal in the springboard, knocking Kai Qin off the top spot on his final dive.

China won every gold medal in diving at the Beijing Games and had won every one at these Games before Tuesday’s final. Qin had only one dive remaining to keep that streak alive.

Just 1.25 points separated Qin and Zakharov going into the sixth and final round of dives. Qin’s program called for a reverse 2 ½ somersault with 1½ twists – a degree of difficulty of 3.3. Zakharov, however, would perform a forward 4½ somersault – a dive with a 3.8 degree of difficulty.

Qin scored 89.10 and could only look on as Zakharov executed a perfect dive, scoring 104.5 to raise his final score to 555.90 and relegating Qin (541.75) to silver.

China’s Chong He had an amazing day that was eclipsed by the performances of Kakharov and Qin. He was in eighth place after the first round of diving and moved his way into the bronze medal with 524.15 points.

Through four rounds, it looked like the upset of China was going to come from Mexican Yahel Castillo Huerta. Huerta’s fifth dive, however, had a low degree of difficulty and needed to be perfect, which it was not. He scored just a 72.00, and suddenly Qin was at the top of the standings and Huerta was third. When he scored just 64.75 on his final dive, he fell to sixth place.

Patrick Hausding of Germany was fourth and American Troy Dumais, who won a bronze here in synchronized springboard, finished fifth.

There were early signs that Zakharaov could pull the upset. He was the top qualifier on Monday, and in the semifinals earlier Tuesday, he was second, sandwiched between He and Qin.

Zakharov, 21, also won the silver medal in the synchronized springboard event.

Qin won gold in the synchronized springboard event here and four years ago in Beijing. He also won bronze in this event in Beijing.

Dumais joins Chinese pair in springboard finals

China's Chong He posted the top qualifying score in the men's 3m springboard semifinals (Toby Melville/Reuters)

Chinese divers Chong He and Kai Qin took the first and third spots in the semifinals of the springboard event Tuesday at the Aquatics Centre.

Russian Ilya Zakharov was second; Yahel Castillo Huerta of Mexico fourth, followed by American Troy Dumais.

He, the defending champion in this event, scored 510.15 in his six dives to lead the 18 qualifiers. Twelve advance to the finals, which will be held later Tuesday (2 p.m. ET). He’s final dive, a forward 2 ½ somersault with three twists, earned a 79.95 but it was enough to clinch the top spot.

Zakharov. 21, who led after the qualifying round, was less than five points behind He at 505.60. Zakharov has won silver here already in the synchronized springboard event.

Kai Qin won gold in the synchronized springboard event here in London and four years ago in Beijing. He also won bronze in this event in Beijing. He was a little more than five points behind Zakharov at 500.35.

Castillo Huerta was just a point behind Quin.

The gap was wider between Castillo Huerta and Dumais, a bronze medalist in the synchronized springboard event here. Dumais finished with 490.55 and lacked that one score that pushed into the 90s that the top four competitors posted. In fact, Zakharov’s final dive netted a 100.70.

The semifinal scores mean nothing in the finals, however.

American Chris Colwill’s shot at the finals ended on his fifth dive, an inward 3 ½ somersault. He appeared not to complete his rotation in time and his legs were nearly parallel to the pool upon entry. His scores reflected that; the dive earned just 28.90 points. On his sixth dive, he came down on the board awkwardly and was unable to perform the dive outlined in his program, thus receiving a 0.00 for that round.

Russian leads in springboard prelims; Dumais third

Russian Ilya Zakharov threw down the gauntlet in the 3-meter springboard preliminaries. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Could Ilya Zakharov of Russia break the Chinese stranglehold on diving gold? It certainly seemed possible after Monday’s preliminaries at the Aquatics Centre.

Zakharov put together six consistent dives and scored 507.65, easily moving into Tuesday’s semifinals.

Kai Qin was leading after four rounds, but on his fifth attempt he finished poorly, entering the pool with a painful splash that elicited groans from the crowd and low scores from the judges. His 39.90 dropped him to 11th place and allowed countryman Chong He to move into the top spot.

American Troy Dumais dived next and his reverse 2½ somersault in the tuck garnered an 85.75, his best score of the day thus far. That put him into third going into the final round of dives.

Zakharov, who already has a silver at these Games in the synchronized springboard event, performed a forward 4½ somersault in the tuck on his final dive with incredible height and a flawless entry to score 91.20.

He, who won gold in this event four years ago in Beijing, performed a forward 2 ½ somersault with three twists drew an 83.85 from the judges and he moved to second with 500.90.

Dumais, diving near the end of the order, scored an 81.60 with a forward 2 ½ somersault with two twists in the pike position. That was good enough to keep him in third place with 486.60.

American Chris Colwill also advanced to the final, finishing seventh overall with 461.35.

Qin’s miscue was surprising; he won bronze in Beijing in this event and gold in the synchronized event both four years ago and here in London.

The top 18 from Monday’s field of 29 advanced to the semifinals. The field will be whittled yet again, to 12, before the final, also to be held Tuesday.

Wu crushes field in winning springboard gold

Wu Minxia of China had an easy time in the 3m springboard final. (Jorge Silva -- Reuters)

China’s Wu Minxia and Zi He followed their gold medal win in synchronized springboard diving by winning a pair of individual medals – gold for Wu and silver for Zi.

Wu – who also won bronze in this event four years ago in Beijing – dominated the field of 12, including Zi, scoring 414.00 points. Zi was more than 34 points behind her, at 379.20. Wu outscored the 11th and 12th divers by more than 100 points.

Laura Sanchez Soto of Mexico won the bronze with 362.40 points.

Americans Cassidy Krug (342.85) and Christina Loukas (332.10) finished seventh and eighth, respectively.

Krug, Loukas dive into Sunday’s 3m springboard finals

Cassidy Krug competes in the women's 3m springboard diving semifinal. (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Americans Cassidy Krug and Christina Loukas qualified for the final in women’s 3-meter springboard, finishing fifth and sixth, respectively, in Saturday’s semifinals.

China’s Wu Minxia, who won gold earlier in the synchronized event, had the top score – 394.40 – after five rounds of diving in the semifinals. Wu won bronze in Beijing four years ago in this event.

Wu is so dominant that the next diver, Tania Cagnotto of Italy, was more than 30 points behind her, at 362.10.

Wu’s countrywoman, He Zi, was third with 354.50.

The top 12 divers in the semifinals advanced to Sunday’s final.

Krug, Loukas in good position after two semifinal dives

After two of five dives, Americans Cassidy Krug and Christina Loukas were in fourth and fifth places, respectively, in the women’s springboard semifinals.

The top 12 divers will advance to Sunday’s final.

China’s Wu Minxia, who won gold earlier in the synchronized event, was in the lead. Wu won bronze in Beijing four years ago in this event.