There has been one constant through the Olympic Games women's springboard diving competition – Guo Jingjing in the lead. Guo has been dominant in what may be her final Olympic Games, and while it remains to be seen what will happen in the finals, she has shown that she came prepared for the challenge of defending her gold medal from Athens.
Guo scored over 70 points on each of her first three dives, then upped the ante and scored over 80 points on her final two. Even with her performance, she has to be wondering when Yulia Pakhalina will fold.
In second place after the prelims and semifinals, Pakhalina has almost been as good as Guo, her only slip up during the semifinals, if it can be considered a slip up, came on her first round dive where she dropped below the 70 point threshold on a back 2 ½ somersaults in pike. The Russian bronze medalist from Athens may be bringing out the best in Guo, a benefit viewers will all reap if the two continue their performances in the finals.
U.S. divers kept their medal hopes alive as Nancilea Foster showed much of the form that led her to a sixth place finish in this event at the 2007 World Championships. She redeemed herself from yesterday with a solid opening round back 2 ½ somersaults in pike, after missing the dive in preliminaries and having to battle back from 27th place to eventually qualify for the semis in 11th.
Chicago native Christina Loukas also advanced, albeit with a slow start, but she accomplished the goal of moving to the next round.
As one would expect, the competition got tougher in the semifinals as pressure on the divers mounted to avoid being one of the six divers eliminated. The 12th place score from the semifinals was almost 20 points higher than that of the prelims.
Of those who fell to that pressure was 31-year-old Australian diver Chantelle Newbery who finished in 14th place. While you would expect the pressure not to affect this seasoned veteran, the 2004 platform gold medalists from Athens, funny things happen at the Olympics. This will likely be the last competition for her and her husband, Australian diver Robert Newbery.
If things continue as they have, one result that may be in jeopardy will be the anticipated one-two finish by Guo and teammate Wu Minxia. The Chinese pair finished first and second at the last two world championships, the 2008 FINA World Cup in February, and in 2004 at the Athens Olympics. Their anticipated battle has not turned out as planned, but the finals may tell a different story.
Wu has missed a dive in both the first two rounds, and if that happens in the finals, she might find herself out of the medal race entirely. The only consolation for her, scores do not continue over into the final round. The divers start from zero and all past results and are all just history. Starting on Sunday morning at 8:00 EDT, everyone in the field of 12 has a chance at Olympic gold.
- Nora Barton, the 18th and last qualifier in the prelims, changed her fortunes with a solid performance and advanced to her first Olympic final in 11th place.
- Eight of the 12 springboard finalists have medaled in either the world championships or Olympic Games.
- Tania Cagnotto of Italy has been the bronze medalist on springboard at the last two world championships behind Guo Jingjing and Wu Minxia.
- Guo Jingjing (China) – 398.55
- Yulia Pakhalina (Russia) – 383.50
- Wu Minxia (China) – 345.30
- Nancilea Foster (United States) – 338.90
- Tania Cagnotto (Italy) – 332.40
- Olena Fedorova (Ukraine) – 329.10
- Christina Loukas (United States) – 329.00
- Sharleen Stratton (Australia) – 325.90
- Anna Lindberg (Sweden) – 324.70
- Blythe Hartley (Canada) – 324.60
- Nora Barta (Hungary) – 318.15
- Laura Sanchez (Mexico) – 314.40
- Jennifer Abel (Canada) – 296.10
- Chantelle Newbery (Australia) – 294.45
- Ditte Kotzian (Germany) – 292.25
- Jashia Luna (Mexico) – 287.35
- Maria Elisabetta Marconi (Italy) – 277.50
- Katia Dieckow (Germany) – 263.00
Women’s Olympic Springboard Diving Semifinal Results
Top 12 divers advance to Final