Colombian diver Daniel Restrepo Garcia has always prioritised training over going out with friends, but he can now lead the celebrations after victory in the 3m springboard.
He has passed up a lot of parties as he strove to perfect his dives, but Colombia’s Daniel Restrepo Garcia can make up for lost time after winning the men’s 3m springboard at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games on Sunday. The 18-year-old topped the final with a total score of 576.05, saving his best until last by earning 93.10 in his fifth-round dive at the Natatorium.
The 3m springboard junior world champion wiped away tears as he stepped onto the podium next to Anthony Harding (GBR), who won silver, and bronze medallist Ruslan Ternovoi (RUS). “It was incredibly moving being on the podium, I was really happy to be able to get there,” Restrepo Garcia said.
Colombia’s flagbearer admitted battling nerves as he prepared for Sunday’s event, knowing all eyes were on him as the favourite for gold. “I think everyone feels pressure, I’m not the only one, but I felt it especially because I’m the flagbearer and after doing so well in the world championships,” Restrepo Garcia said. “But I knew I had to keep my feet on the ground and stay focused and humble.”
Prioritising training when your friends want you to party is not always fun, but Restrepo Garcia would not have it any other way. “There are a lot of sacrifices and hard work - training a lot and eating healthy, saying ‘no’ when my friends ask me to go and party with them,” he said. “But these sacrifices are worth it. It keeps you away from vices, bad friends, and keeps you healthy.”
Silver medallist Harding was surprised to make the podium. “I would have been happy with fourth, so this is just amazing,” said the 18-year-old Briton. Lian Junjie (CHN) qualified for the final with the highest score but then was unable to recover from a disastrous first dive. Lian, 17, admitted nerves had got the better of him in the final, even as the crowd rallied around him. “On one hand I was really happy the crowd was supporting me and clapping for me,” he said. “But the more they applauded, the more nervous I felt, which made it hard for me to control my movements.”
Lin, who finished tenth, will have a chance to redeem himself in the men’s 10m platform on Tuesday.