Laugher and Mears pair up for diving gold
Great Britain’s Jack Laugher and Chris Mears took gold in the men’s 3 metre springboard event on 10 August, ending China’s hopes of a golden clean sweep in the diving events at Rio 2016.
The British pair’s victory was their country’s first in an Olympic competition and came as something of a surprise in an event that Chinese divers have won at the last two Games. Reigning world champions Qin Kai and Cao Yuan were tipped to continue that run at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre, but had to settle for bronze behind the USA’s Sam Dorman and Mike Hixon, who took silver after posting a competition-best score for their sixth and final dive.
“I’m just in complete shock really,” said a disbelieving Laugher. “I mean I’ve dreamed about this for my entire life and to come here and actually do it just feels absolutely surreal to be honest. It’s something I can’t understand and I’m struggling to get to grips with it.” Team-mate Mears was no less able to take in their achievement: “I’m buzzing but I am in complete shock. I see up there on the scoreboard my name and I just can’t understand how.”
The Chinese duo led through the first two rounds and looked poised to make it four diving golds out of four for their country at Rio 2016. Qin and Cao failed to nail their third dive, however, giving Laugher and Mears the opportunity to move into the lead.
The Americans then made a late charge, flawlessly executing a difficult front four-and-a-half somersault with tuck on their last dive of the competition to score 98.04 and move ahead of the Chinese into second. Showing plenty of style of their own, the British duo finished strongly themselves to end with 454.32 points, giving them a narrow 4.11-point victory over Dorman and Hixon.
Delighted with their overall performance, Mears added: “We did a really good list and we were really confident and good with our routine, as we normally do in the competition. And today we were out on top. We knew going into the final round of dives that we had done a good list. We just weren’t sure if it was good enough to take the gold.
The American pair were equally ecstatic to be clutching silver. “It’s amazing. I mean just look at it: it’s beautiful. It’s a dream come true, really, and I’m very, very grateful and blessed to be in this situation,” commented Dorman, while Hixon had this to say: “It feels so great. We’ve been working for this for a really long time and for it to come to fruition is really special. But congratulations to GB, they dived out of their minds. That was pretty special. We thought we had a chance to win gold tonight, but I am happy with the silver.”