There were no Olympic jitters for Wu Minxia. She just went about her business and qualified first in the women’s springboard prelims, beating her teammate He Zi and 29 talented divers by almost 24 points.
She had only one minor blip on her diving radar when she was a bit off on a forward 3 ½ in pike that scored only 7’s and 7.5’s. Other than that her performance was impressive, and quite a departure from four years ago in Beijing where she finished fourth in prelims.
The prelims finished like you would expect, with almost all of the major players easily advancing to the semifinals. The only notable exceptions were Anastasia Pozdniakova of Russia and Anna Pysmenska of Ukraine, both of whom could have finished well if they had made it past the first round.
Finishing in second was He Zi (China) who scored 70 plus points on each of her first four dives, then lost her focus on a forward 2 ½ with 1 twist and received only 7’s for 63 points. Granted, it was only the prelim, but this is what has kept her in her teammates shadow and she can ill afford to make that kind of mistake if she would like to deny Wu an individual Olympic gold.
Veteran Tania Cagnotto of Italy finished in third, 2011 world bronze medalist Jennifer Abel (Canada) was fourth, followed by Sharleen Stratton (Australia) and Emilie Heymans (Canada), who is seeking her fifth Olympic diving medal.
U.S. divers Christina Loukas and Cassidy Krug advanced in seventh and tenth place respectively. Both had their own moments where they seemed to loose a bit of focus, Loukas on a front 3 ½ pike, and Krug on both a back and reverse 2 ½ pike.
Much to the delight of the hometown crowd, both British divers advanced and will dive on Saturday. Rebecca Gallantree finished 16th and her teammate Hannah Starling was 17th.
Compared to 2008, the field of divers is much deeper and this was reflected in the scores, as 15 divers scored over 300 points and it took a score of 289.65 to make it to the semifinals. In Beijing, the qualifying score was 276.15 and only 11 women broke 300.
Scoring can be arbitrary and dives change, but in this event the comparison can be made because the diving lists of top female divers have not changed in the past four years - they have just gotten better. As a result, it will be a tough task for many of the women to make the top 12 and advance to finals.
But if they do make finals, anything can happen. Just as in the semifinal round, all divers start with a clean slate. No scores carry over from the previous round so it is a new day for everyone!
The semifinals take place on Saturday, August 4th at 9:30 am EST.
- The Untied States, China, Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy and the Great Britain all qualified two divers for the semifinal field of 18.
- 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.
- Wu Minxia is seeking her sixth Olympic medal, which would tie her with Guo Jingjing for the most medals by a female diver.
- Of the 18 qualifiers, 12 had a cumulative degree of difficulty of 15.1. The lowest was Emilie Heymans at 14.5. Leader Wu Minxia had 15.0>
- No matter how you do, it is always an accomplishment to qualify for the Olympic Games. Jennifer Benitez of Spain has done just that, but finished last in both 2008 and 2012.
- Australian Jaele Patrick is the 2012 NCAA 3-meter champion, diving for Texas A&M.
- Wu Minxia (China) – 387.95
- He Zi (China) – 363.85
- Tania Cagnotto (Italy) – 349.80
- Jennifer Abel (Canada) – 344.15
- Sharleen Stratton (Australia) – 342.70
- Emilie Heymans (Canada) – 337.20
- Christina Loukas (United States) – 330.45
- Nadezda Bazhina (Russia) – 325.00
- Laura Sanchez (Mexico) – 320.15
- Cassidy Krug (United States) – 320.10
- Anna Lindberg (Sweden) – 318.60
- Nora Subschinski (Germany) – 311.70
- Francesca Dallape (Italy) – 311.25
- Olena Fedorova (Ukraine) – 308.70
- Katja Diekow (Germany) – 303.90
- Rebecca Gallantree (Great Britain) – 299.25
- Hannah Starling (Great Britain) – 298.95
- Jaele Patrick (Australia) - 289.65
- Anastasia Pozdniakova (Russia) – 286.50
- Cheong Jun Hoong (Malaysia) – 272.45
- Anna Pysmenska (Ukraine) – 271.50
- Flora Gondos (Hungary) – 266.45
- Jocelyn Castillo (Venezuela) – 266.00
- Ng Yan Yee (Malaysia) – 257.85
- Nora Barta (Hunary) – 257.70
- Fanny Bouvet (France) – 257.10
- Marion Farissier (France) – 248.70
- Juliana Veloso (Brazil) – 241.15
- Arantxa Chavez (Mexico) – 225.45
- Jennifer Benitez (Spain) – 224.60
Women’s Olympic Springboard Diving Preliminary Results
Top 18 divers advance to Semifinal Round