Wow. Double Wow. Maybe even a triple Wow. That is the only way to describe the final dives that ended the men’s platform final at the Water Cube.
Let’s set the stage. Final round. China’s Zhou Luxin is in the lead by 32.8 points over second place Matthew Mitcham of Australia. Two points behind Mitcham is Gleb Galperin of Russia, and China’s Huo Liang is next, 0.3 points further back.
You, me, and most everybody else is probably thinking, “China’s going to go eight for eight.”
In the inevitable words of Winston Churchill, “Never, Never, Never Quit.”
That had to be what Mitcham was thinking, because he certainly did not quit.
First comes Galperin, who takes the lead. Might win a medal, but probably not. Two Chinese and Mitcham left to dive, and those three haven’t missed all night. Next comes Zhou, bad feet and all, and he takes the lead with a marginal dive that is not only short, but has a form break.
Mitcham’s next, and he needs to score over 107 points to take the lead. Good meet Matthew, let’s see if we can get a medal.
Here comes the wow part – he absolutely smokes the dive with four 10’s on a 3.8 D.D. dive, and WOW, he takes the lead by scoring what has to be a record 112.10 points! With that, the contest was over. Huo’s last dive is also 3.8, but it was impossible for him to catch Mitcham unless they give out a 10.5. Hou scores 85.5 points and finishes fourth, out of the medals.
Mitcham's finish ranks up there with Greg Louganis’ final dive to win the gold in 1988 over Xiong Ni, and has to be the biggest comeback in Olympic diving history.
An exciting moment for Australian diving. The win gives Aussies two medals for the 2008 Games, and along with Chantell Newbery in 2004, an Olympic platform champion in the past two games.
Despite the fact the China did not close the deal in final event of the diving program, you have to give them credit. They dominated diving winning seven of the gold medals awarded and have created a dynasty in the sport. You create that dynasty by winning nine of ten at the world championships, seven of eight at the world cup, and now seven of eight at the Olympics. Who can compete with them?
Certainly not the U.S. For the second straight Olympic Games, American divers were shut out of the medals. U.S. divers were close in a few of the events, a fourth here and a fifth there. But the fact remains that when it comes down to crunch time, they have failed to deliver. Two Olympiads – 0 for 16. Ouch!
U.S. fortunes may be on an upswing. International success outside of the Olympics has shown improvement over the past four years, and as it has been stated by many a U.S. diver and coach, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” But when the ultimate judgment as to the success of a national program is based on Olympic medals, the U.S. has fallen behind China, Russia, Germany, Australia, Canada and yes, even Mexico. There is lots of work to be done between now and London in 2012.
- Final diving medal count: China (11), Russia (5), Australia (2), Canada (2), Germany (2), Mexico (1), Ukraine (1)
- A total of 12 perfect 10’s were give out during finals, eight of which went to Mathew Mitcham, three to Zhou Luxin, and one to Gleb Galperin.
- Matthew Mitcham (Australia) – 537.95
- Zhou Luxin (China) – 533.15
- Gleb Galperin (Russia) – 525.80
- Huo Liang (China) – 508.40
- Jose Antonio Guerra Oliva (Cuba) – 507.15
- Mathew Helm (Australia) – 467.70
- Thomas Daley (Great Britain) – 463.55
- Rommel Pacheco (Mexico) – 460.20
- Patrick Hausding (Germany) – 448.30
- David Boudia (United States) – 441.45
- Juan Guillermo Uran (Columbia) – 414.80
- Thomas Fincham (United States) – 412.65
Men’s Olympic Platform Final Results