Ice-cool diver Yang gets the job done
China’s Yang Hao won gold in the men’s 3m springboard, but refused to get swept away by the emotion of the occasion.
Yang Hao celebrates with his gold medal and the Nanjing 2014 mascot
“I’ve just realised I’ve got the gold medal,” he said matter-of-factly after recording a winning score of 614.80. “I’m not too moved, I’ve simply done my job out there.”
The crowd at the Nanjing Olympic Sport Centre Natatorium were a bit more expressive. The venue exploded in a roar of awe and delight when Yang performed his final dive, a 3.0 difficulty degree forward two-and-a-half somersault one twist that the judges evaluated as almost perfect. “The crowd cheering so warmly helped me a lot,” acknowledged Yang. “I was feeling a little nervous in the beginning but felt better dive after dive.”
The Chinese diver, whose lead in the final was never seriously challenged, said he was “not particularly satisfied” with his performance, because “during training I generally do better than this.”
Mexico’s Rodrigo Diego Lopez (MEX) won silver with 593.65 points. “I feel really good,” said the Mexican. “Through the competition I always expected the gold. At the end it doesn’t come [home] with me but I am happy with the result.”
The three medallists from the men's 3m springboard competition
Bronze medallist Philippe Gagne (CAN) was surprised to find himself on the podium: “I didn’t expect a medal. I was expecting maybe top five, top four, but a medal feels great,” he said. Key to his medal-winning performance were his last two dives – a 3.5 degree difficulty reverse three-and-a-half somersault, with which Gagne reached the fourth position, and a reverse one-and-a-half somersault three-and-a-half twists that secured the Canadian’s bronze medal. “I saved those for my last two dives, the high difficulty, and that was the dive I was most stressed about,” he explained.