China continued on their quest to sweep the diving medals, winning their second gold medal in the men’s synchronized platform competition at the Water Cube.
The Chinese team of Lin Yue and Huo Liang led the competition from the start to finish, outlasting the field of eight synchro teams.
Lin and Huo were impressive, never receiving a score less than 8.5 until the final round, when all the pair had to do was land on their head to secure a victory. Consistent, and with almost workmanlike precision, they built a 24.06 point lead over the then second place team from Russia through five rounds.
The difference between the gold medalists and the rest of the field was that the Chinese appeared to dive in their own world - performing their list of dives oblivious to the competition. The rest of the synchro teams on the other hand, always seemed to be pressing hard to catch Lin and Huo, who entered the competition as the favorites.
Opportunities to catch the leaders did present themselves. After four rounds, the Russian team of Gleb Galperin and Dmitriy Dobroskok stood only 7.74 points behind the Chinese, and with a good dive would have closed that gap even further, if not pushed them into the lead.
The Russians’ fifth round dive, a back 2 ½ somersaults in pike position, had a higher degree of difficulty than the dive done by the Chinese, and with scores of 8.5 to 9 they would have passed the leaders. The pair executed a very poor dive though, earning the lowest point total of any of the optional dives in the competition, finishing the round facing a 24-point deficit.
Despite their mistake, Galperin and Dobroskok were still in third by two points with one dive remaining. Germany’s Patrick Hausding and Sascha Klein then performed a back 2 ½ somersaults with 2 ½ twists, earning scores of 7.5 to 8.5 for execution, and 8.5 to 9.5 for synchronization. The result was the highest scoring dive of the contest at 96.9, and a silver medal for the German duo.
Galperin and Dobroskok held on for the bronze, but just barely. They finished a scant .42 points ahead of Australians Mathew Helm and Robert Newbery, the bronze medalists in this event four years ago in Athens.
The American team of David Boudia and Thomas Finchum came into the contest with high hopes. The pair had won 14 international medals over the past two years, and were considered one of the best U.S. chances for a medal, but seemed to have a case of Olympic jitters during the event. They were in third place through four rounds, but scored only 77 points on their fifth round dive, an inward 3 ½ somersaults in tuck position, dropping them to fifth entering the final round.
On that fifth round dive, Boudia and Finchum appeared to gain the synchronization that eluded them for most of the contest, but an uncharacteristic mistake on the entry by Finchum, combined with the low difficulty of the inward 3 ½, dropped them to fifth place.
Even with a sub-par fifth round dive, the Americans still were in the hunt for a medal. At the start of the final round, six points separated places second through fifth. Boudia and Finchum finished with their best dive of the contest, the second highest scoring dive in the contest, and a dive that can be debated was better than the German’s final dive. Unfortunately though for the two, it was not enough to over take either the Germans or Russians and they finished in fifth, 4.62 points from a bronze.
Boudia and Finchum will return to action on Friday, August 22, in the platform preliminaries.
- On their second round dive, an inward dive in pike position, Lin and Huo received scores of 10 from all four of the synchronization judges, and two 10’s and two 9.5’s from the execution judges.
- With their Olympic victory, Lin Yue and Huo Liang have won four straight major international men’s synchro platform contests in a row. Beginning in 2006, they have now captured gold at the 2006 FINA World Cup, 2007 World Championships, 2008 FINA World Cup and 2008 Olympic Games.
- Lin Yue / Huo Liang (China) – 468.18
- Patrick Hausding / Sascha Klein (Germany) – 450.42
- Gleb Galperin / Dmitriy Dobroskok (Russia) – 445.26
- Mathew Helm / Robert Newbery (Australia) - 444.84
- David Boudia / Thomas Finchum (United States) – 440.64
- Victor Ortega / Juan Guillermo Uran (Columbia) – 423.66
- Jose Antonio Guerra / Erick Fornaris (Cuba) - 409.38
- Thomas Daley / Blake Aldridge (Great Britain) - 408.48
Men’s Olympic Synchronized Platform Diving Results