China’s Chen Ruolin was three points better than yesterday. More importantly, she was three points better when it counted, and she needed those three points plus a few more to fight off a determined effort by Canadian Emilie Heymans to win the women’s platform title at the 2008 Olympic Games.
Chen’s gold medal, the second of the Games for the 15-year-old, added to the growing total of Olympic diving medals won by the Chinese in Beijing. They are now seven for seven, inching closer to their goal of sweeping the diving medals.
Chen did what a champion is supposed to do, fight off all challengers and rise to the occasion when needed. You really can’t set up a better scenario that occurred at the Water Cube. Hit your final dive – win the gold. With Heymans leading her by 89.65 points, Chen needed not just a solid dive, but a great one to move into first. What she got was an exceptional dive that scored over 100 points - the highest of the contest, and left her with a 10-point margin of victory.
Heymans’ silver, the third Olympic medal of her career and her first individual medal, may not have been what she was hoping for, but the 26-year-old has to be satisfied with her performance. Who knows, Laura Wilkinson competed in her third Olympic Games on platform at age 30, why not Emilie.
Finishing in third was Chen’s teammate, 16-year-old Wang Xin, whose lowest score over the five dives was an 8.5. At any other time, probably a gold medal performance, but not today, as she had to settle for bronze.
U.S. fortunes took another hit as Laura Wilkinson could not come up with the magic she had eight years ago in Sydney, and ended her diving career with a ninth place finish. Don’t cry for Laura though, the 30-year-old from Spring, Texas has had a magical career despite her showing in Beijing. With both an Olympic gold medal and a world championship to her credit, Wilkinson’s success should be the envy of many a diver.
Can the Chinese divers pull it off? Win eight gold medals and show the diving world how to use a broom.
It may well come down to the final event, and maybe even the final dive. Are the Chinese vulnerable in this event? Absolutely. A Russian, Gleb Galperin, won the 2007 World Championships, and a German, Sascha Klein, won the 2008 FINA World Cup. At this point though, it is hard to bet against the Chinese. The Games began on the eighth day of the eighth month in 2008. Will China go eight for eight in 2008? I’m guessing there is an 80 percent chance!
- Following the women’s platform, the diving medal count standings: China(10), Russa (4), Canada (2), Germany (2), Australia (1)
- Chen Ruolin (China) – 447.70
- Emilie Heymans (Canada) – 437.05
- Wang Xin (China) 429.90
- Paola Espinosa (Mexico) – 380.95
- Tatiana Ortiz (Mexico) – 349.50
- Melissa Wu (Australia) – 338.15
- Marie-Eve Marleau (Canada) – 332.10
- Tonia Couch (Great Britain) – 328.70
- Laura Wilkinson (United States) – 311.80
- Stacie Powell (Great Britain) – 303.50
- Mai Nakagawa (Japan) – 296.30
- Elina Eggers (Sweden) – 285.85
Women’s Olympic Platform Diving Final Results