China’s Wu Minxia withstood a stiff challenge from teammate and synchro partner He Zi, but proved she belonged in an elite class of Olympic divers, earning the sixth Olympic medal of her career in the women’s springboard.
Her first individual gold tied her with Guo Jingjing for the most medals won by a female in Olympic diving at six.
Wu then proceeded to finish up with three spectacular dives, each of which eclipsed the 80 point barrier, scoring 414 points for her total. Her final dive, a back 2 ½ somersaults in pike, received the only 10 of the contest.
With the two Chinese divers providing the drama for gold and silver, an even more dramatic battle occurred as three women chased the remaining medal.
With one dive remaining, Laura Sanchez of Mexico, Cassidy Krug of the U.S. and Tania Cagnotto of Italy, were separated by only 1.7 points and the bronze hinged on one final dive.
Sanchez was first of the three to dive and set the bar high, scoring 75 points on a forward 2 ½ somersaults with 1 twist that received scores of one 8 and two 8.5’s. Next to dive was Krug doing the same dive as Sanchez.
For whatever reason; pressure or a missed spot (visual clue) perhaps, she left her dive well short of vertical and took herself out of medal contention.
Then Cagnotto - the third to last diver in the order, executed an excellent reverse 2 ½ in pike and all eyes were glued to the scoreboard for what must have seemed an eternity for Cagnotto.
She received better scores than Sanchez - three 8.5’s compared to two for Sanchez, but fell a scant 0.2 point short and the Mexican contingent began their celebration.
The fourth place finish for Cagnotto left the four-time Olympian without a medal. Her best finish prior had been a fifth in Beijing. She also finished fourth in the synchronized springboard with teammate Francesca Dallape’.U.S. diver Christina Loukas, despite not diving badly and finishing with a score of 332.10, seemed to be as one announcer described, “feeling the occasion.” Looking tense during the competition Loukas finished eighth, one place better than the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
On the verge of a medal in fourth heading into the final round, Krug dropped to seventh following her final dive that earned only 55.5 points.
The finishes by the U.S. divers ended a streak of three medals in three events.The gold medal is surely a huge relief for Wu, after first diving in the shadow of Guo Jingjing and second dealing with scrutiny surrounding recent revelations concerning her family life and her training. Her performance was the equal of any of the other Chinese champions including Gao Min, Fu Minxia and Guo.
- Wu Minxia's first individual gold medal is the six of her career. She has three golds in synchronized springboard, and a bronze and silver in individual springboard.
- In 2008, U.S. divers finished eighth (Nancilea Foster) and ninth (Christina Loukas).
- Tania Cagnotto of Italy is the daughter of five-time Olympian, and four-time Olympic medalist Giorgio Cagnotto.
- At the age of 30, Swedish diver Anna Lindberg is competing in her fifth Olympic Games. She is the daughter of 1976 platform gold medalist and three-time medal winner Ulrike Knape.
- The U.S. has not won an medal in individual springboard since 1988, when Kelly McCormick finished third in Seoul. The last U.S. diver to win gold was Jenny Chandler in 1976.
- Australian Jaele Patrick is the 2012 NCAA 3-meter champion, diving for Texas A&M.
- The diving medal count after five events: China (6) - 5 gold, 1 silver; Mexico (3) - 2 silver, 1 bronze; United States (3) - 1 silver, 2 bronze; Canada (2) - 2 bronze; Russia (1) - 1 silver.
- Wu Minxia (China) – 414.00
- He Zi (China) – 379.20
- Laura Sanchez (Mexico) – 362.40
- Tania Cagnotto (Italy) – 364.20
- Sharleen Stratton (Australia) – 345.65
- Jennifer Abel (Canada) – 343.00
- Cassidy Krug (United States) – 342.85
- Christina Loukas (United States) – 332.10
- Olena Fedorova (Ukraine) – 317.80
- Anna Lindberg (Sweden) – 316.80
- Jaele Patrick (Australia) – 309.40
- Emilie Heymans (Canada) – 295.20
Women’s Olympic Springboard Diving Final Results