The Chinese juggernaut continued on the third day of diving at National Aquatic Center in Beijing, as Chen Ruolin and Wang Xin racked up China’s third Olympic gold medal in as many tries at the venue affectionately known as the Water Cube.
As with the two previous medal events, the Chinese pair led from the start, and after four rounds had stretched their lead to 25.22 points. The teenagers punctuated their victory with the highest scoring dive of the contest on their final dive, earning 90.78 points to secure a victory by 28.38 points.
It was a fitting birthday present for Wang, who turned sixteen the day before the competition. The teammates came into the competition as heavy favorites after winning the 2008 FINA World Cup in February in this same pool.
With a gold medal under their belts in their first Olympic experience, the two will now switch gears and compete against each other in the women’s individual platform, scheduled to begin on Wednesday, August 20. The two will be favorites to finish one-two after doing just that at both the recent world cup and the 2007 World Championships.
As the contest unfolded, it became apparent that the Chinese, Australians and Mexicans were the class of the competition, with the Australian team of Briony Cole and Melissa Wu finishing second, and Paola Espinosa and Tatiana Ortiz of Mexico third. With only 1.02 points separating the teams with one round to go, the race for silver and gold could not get much tighter. Cole and Wu, who were the final divers in the order, concluded their diving list with a back 2 ½ somersaults with 1 ½ twists, scored 87.72 points, and finished 5.1 points ahead of Espinosa and Ortiz, ensuring the Aussies of the first medal of their diving careers.
The U.S. team of Mary Beth Dunnichay and Haley Ishimatsu finished fifth, concluding the contest with their best dive of the night – a dive that propelled them from eighth at the start of the final round, to fifth. Entering the contest with an outside chance at a medal, the two gained valuable experience for the future. Both 15-years-old, the two divers were the youngest team in the event, and appear to have a bright future.
Ishimatsu will compete in the individual platform competition next week, while Dunnichay now will have the luxury of enjoying her Olympic experience.
- Wang Xin / Chen Ruolin (China) – 363.54
- Briony Cole / Melissa Wu (Australia) – 335.16
- Paola Espinosa / Tatiana Ortiz (Mexico) – 330.06
- Annett Gamm / Nora Subschinski (Germany) – 310.29
- Mary Beth Dunnichay / Haley Ishimatsu (United States) – 309.12
- Kum Hui Choe / Un Hyang Kim (North Korea) – 308.10
- Meaghan Benfeito / Roseline (Canada) – 305.91
- Tonia Couch / Stacie Powell (Great Britain) – 303.48
Women’s Olympic Synchronized Platform Diving Results