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China poised to complete golden diving sweep

China poised to complete golden diving sweep

China's Huo Liang led the men's 10-meter platform semifinals Saturday and put the host nation six dives away from sweeping the eight Olympic diving gold medals.
No country has done so since the United States in 1952, when there were only four events. Synchronized diving was added at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Of the 21 diving medals awarded so far, China has claimed 10 of them, including gold and bronze in three events. The sport has produced the country's most Olympic medals.
Huo led early, fell back and then regained the lead from teammate Zhou Luxin with his fifth of six dives, totaling 549.95 points. Huo received four perfect 10s, including three for an inward 3 1/2 somersault.
"I'm in better form today," he said. "I wasn't relaxed enough in the preliminary."
Huo, who stands just 5-foot-1 (1.54-meters) tall, missed out on being chosen for the 2004 Athens Games because of knee problems that got him dropped from the national team. Now, he is in position to win the country's third consecutive Olympic platform title.
Zhou had the top preliminary score, but he led only once in the semifinals. The 20-year-old from Beijing, ranked second in the world and runner-up on platform at last year's world championships, qualified third doing a conservative list with 526.20.
"I failed to get my body full adjusted this morning," he said. "There were some technical deficiencies in my last dive. Hopefully, I will get better tonight."
Zhou earned two 10s for a backward 2 1/2 somersault with 1 1/2 twists. His highest scoring dive was a backward 3 1/2 somersault, worth 97.20 points.
Matthew Mitcham of Australia was second overall with 532.20. He received one 10 for his toughest dive, a backward 2 1/2 somersault with 2 1/2 twists, that carries a 3.8 degree of difficulty.
"One bad dive from anyone and they're out of the competition, that's the high standard of the competition," Mitcham said. "I've been able to relax a bit more and have fun."
Zhou said he wouldn't do the 3.8 dive in the Olympics, even though five of the top 12 qualifiers for the final performed it.
Of those five, Mitcham scored highest for the somersaulting, twisting trick, earning 106.40 points. Gleb Galperin of Russia earned 96.90 points, while Huo received 91.20.
Galperin advanced fourth overall with 508.95. American teenager David Boudia, who also did the tough dive and earned 89.30 points, was fifth with 491.55.
Boudia planned to increase the degree of difficulty from 3.0 to 3.5 for his opening dive in the final, while still keeping the 3.8 dive.
"If I do that well, then it will definitely keep me ahead," he said. "I know I have to clean up some of my entries, but I am happy."
Mathew Helm of Australia was sixth, followed by Thomas Finchum of the U.S., and 14-year-old Thomas Daley of Britain, who fell to 16th after two rounds before rallying.
"If someone had said to me four years ago that I was going to be in an Olympic final, I wouldn't have believed them," Daley said. "It's good that I didn't do an amazing performance in the semi because I don't want to waste it. I've got lots of things to do for the final."
Finchum's six-dive list isn't as difficult as Boudia's, but the 18-year-old scored well.
"I'm excited and I'm ready to go for tonight. All I need is a little cleaner entries and I know that's possible because I've done it in the past," Finchum said. "I had a good feeling going on, so I wasn't worried."
Boudia and Finchum are the last U.S. hopes to make the podium and avoid a medals shutout for the second consecutive Olympics.
Germany's Sascha Klein, who won a World Cup platform title in February at the Water Cube, failed to make the final, finishing 18th and last.
"It was just one of those days. I cannot explain," he said. "I can do all these dives successfully. I did not need easier dives."


Updated : 2021-03-03 19:53 GMT+08:00