China’s diving machine completed a sweep of the synchronized diving events at the 2008 Olympic Games with its most dominant performance to date. Teammates Wang Feng and Qin Kai easily won the fourth diving medal event of the Games by 47.1 points over Dmitri Sautin and Yuriy Konakov of Russia.
Wang and Qin were impressive, posting the highest score in each of the six rounds, and never receiving a judges score of less than 8 throughout the contest. They earned the highest score of their diving list and of the contest of 94.5 points on their final dive, receiving scores of 8.5 to 9 on a reverse 2 ½ somersaults with 1 ½ twists.
Following their impressive win, Wang and Qin showed a bit of uncharacteristic enthusiasm for Chinese divers, embracing and exchanging high-fives. After finishing fourth on springboard in 2004, Wang earned his first Olympic medal. The medal for Qin was his first in his inaugural appearance in Olympic competition.
Grabbing the silver were the team from Russia, composed of one of the most revered divers in Olympic history, 34-year-old Dmitri Sautin, and his 18-year-old teammate, Yuiry Konakov. The Russians won the silver in dramatic fashion with a final round dive that scored 88.20 points to vault the duo from fourth to second.
With his silver, Sautin now has eight Olympic diving medals, more than any diver than history, including greats like Klaus Dibiasi, Greg Louganis, and Xiong Ni. He will look to add to that total when he competes in the individual springboard competition.
Illya Kvasha and Oleksiy Prygorov of the Ukraine won the bronze. The 20-year-old Kvasha and 21-year-old Prygorov became the first divers to win a medal in diving for their country.
The U.S. team again came away disappointed, as Chris Colwill and Jevon Tarantino finished fourth, 4.3 points out of a bronze. Colwill and Tarantino put themselves in position for a medal after their fifth, and best dive of the evening, a reverse 2 ½ somersaults with 1 ½ twists that scored 85.05 points. On their final dive though, a reverse 3 ½ somersaults in tuck, Tarantino kicked short of vertical and received low scores that allowed the team from Ukraine to hold onto the bronze.
The disappointment for the men’s synchro springboard team, and for the U.S. results in general has to be a concern, especially with the prospect of going 0 for 8 in consecutive Olympics looming. The results though, must be kept in perspective. U.S. divers were in serious medal contention in three of the four contests, a huge improvement from 2004. In Athens, the American divers registered finishes of sixth in men’s synchro springboard, seventh in women’s synchro platform, eighth in men’s synchro platform, and did not qualify a team for women’s synchro springboard.
Let’s hope Team USA can find confidence from this improvement as the competition switches from synchro to individual events.
After a one-day break, diving competition will resume on Friday, August 15 with the women’s springboard preliminaries.
- Since the addition of synchronized diving in 2000, China has won nine of the 12 Olympic gold medals awarded. They have failed to medal only once, in the men’s synchronized springboard in 2004, and earned silver medals in the remaining two events.
- Dmitri Sautin has now earned eight Olympic medals over a span of five Olympic Games. He has two golds, 2 silvers, and 4 bronze medals since his first appearance in Barcelona in 1992.
- Wang and Qin have now won three major international competitions in synchro in a row. The won the 2007 World Championships, 2008 FINA World Cup, and now the 2008 Olympic Games.
- Wang Feng / Qin Kai (China) – 469.08
- Dmitry Sautin / Yuriy Kunakov (Russia) – 421.98
- Illya Kvasha / Oleksiy Prygorov (Ukraine) – 415.05
- Chris Colwill / Jevon Tarantino (United States) – 410.73
- Alexandre Despatie / Arturo Miranda (Canada) – 409.29
- Pavlo Rozenberg / Sascha Klein (Germany) – 402.84
- Nicholas Robinson-Baker / Benjamin Swain (Great Britain) – 402.36
- Scott Robertson / Robert Newbery (Australia) – 393.60
Men’s Olympic Synchronized Springboard Diving Results