Troy Dumais finally did it. After 35 national titles, three Olympic appearances, countless hours of training and his share of disappointments, he finally reached his goal – an Olympic medal.
In a nerve racking six dive contest, Troy Dumais and Kristian Ipsen stayed consistent throughout their diving list and despite having the third lowest difficulty of the eight teams, put all six dives on their head and earned Team USA its third diving medal of the Games.
The winners were once again members of the Chinese juggernaut, as Kin Qai and Lou Yutong led from the start and although they looked a little shaky (at least by Chinese standards) on their first two optional dives – an inward 3 ½ in tuck and a front 4 ½ in tuck, they led by over 37 points heading in to the final round and the outcome, if ever in question, was out of the question by then.
But there were still medals to be won and as always, the optional rounds told the tale of who would end up on the podium and who would end up dejected in the hot tub.
The medal picture began to take shape in round 4 when the teams ranked 2-3 both missed dives: the Mexicans missed a front 4 ½ for 79.8; the Russians missed a back 3 ½ in tuck (the only team in the contest doing this dive) also scoring 79.8. While not complete bombs, the dives were below 80 points, a level that is almost a prerequisite for earning a medal internationally.
This opened the door for the U.S. who gladly walked in with their highest scoring dive, a reverse 2 ½ with 1 ½ twists worth 90.09 points.
Sitting in second at the start of the penultimate round, the U.S. team faced a daunting task - a reverse 3 ½ that would for all intent determine whether they could win a medal or not.
A reverse 3 ½ in tuck, while not the most difficult dive by the numbers with a 3.5 D.D., may be one of the most mentally challenging dives in competition. Why? You spin backwards toward the board and you can’t see where your going, but if you push the dive away from the springboard for safety it is very difficult to complete 3 ½ somersaults.
And this dive has historically been a challenge for both Troy and Kristian during their career – and it was next, and it was big.
To add even more pressure as the first divers in the order, the Russians hit that exact dive for scores of 8.5; a total of 89.25 and the pressure mounted.
So . . . . . you know Troy and Kristian won a bronze, and you know they did well; so you also have probably figured out that the 307C was a success. Not quite as good as the Russian dive, but good enough to score 84 points and produce a collective sigh from all who were sitting on pins and needles during the contest.
That dive also produced some butterflies because at the time you knew something magical might happen for Team USA. Something that hadn’t happened since 1992 - three medals in one Olympics.
And it did. Despite the fact that the Russians overtook the U.S. team on their final dive, scoring over 100 points on a front 4 ½, Kristian Ipsen and Troy Dumais finished strong with an 86.7 point front 2 ½ with 2 ½ twists and made it almost impossible for the team from Ukraine to catch them.
So tough, that not even the Chinese could have done it. The Ukraine team would have needed to average scores of 9.3 on the dive and no one, not even the Chinese had done that on optionals.
So the U.S. team won it's third medal, and Kristian Ipsen and Troy Dumais their first. And a big day for USA Diving and High Performance Director Steve Foley who has really stressed the importance of synchro.
Even if the Games ended tomorrow, the Olympics can be considered a success for the U.S.: three Olympic medals, the most since the U.S. won a gold, silver and bronze in 1992; the first medals in synchro; and of course, after a long wait Troy Dumais finally has his Olympic medal!
And the individual events haven't even started!
- In his three previous Olympic Games, Troy Dumais finished sixth in three individual events (2000, 2004, 2008), fourth in 3M synchro in 2000 and sixth in 2004.
- Russia had the highest degree of difficult of any of the teams in the contest at 18.2. Mexico was second at 18.1. The U.S was sixth with 17.3 and Canada last at 17.1.
- In 1992 in Barcelona Mark Lenzi won a gold on springboard, Scott Donie a silver on platform, and Mary Ellen Clark a bronze on platform.
- The diving medal count after the syncho competition is as follows: China (4) - 4 gold; United States (3) - 1 silver, 2 bronze; Mexico (2) - 2 silver; Canada (2) - 2 bronze; Russia (1) - 1 silver.
- Lou Yutong / Kin Qai (China) – 377.00
- Ilya Zakharov and Evgeny Kuznetsov (Russia) - 459.63
- Troy Dumais / Kristian Ipsen (United States) - 446.70
- Illya Kvasha and Oleksiy Prygorov (Ukraine) – 434.22
- Christopher Mears / Nicholas Robinson-Baker (Great Britain) – 432.60
- Alex Despatie / Reuben Ross (Canada) – 421.83
- Julian Sanchez and Yahel Castillo (Mexico) – 415.14
- Bryan Nickson Lomas / Qiang Huang (Malaysia) - 405.09
Men’s Olympic Synchronized Springboard Diving Results