Shi Tingmao of China Wins Diving Gold in 3-Meter Springboard Event
They make it look easy: crisp gymnastics in the air, a knife strike with the water, and barely a splash at the entrance.
But diving is a grueling sport, requiring years of training from an early age. Some divers suffer from eye damage, such as retinal detachment, from constant impact with water. And for all that training, an Olympic performance comes down to a few seconds of twists and turns. There is no margin for error.
Shi Tingmao of China won gold in the 3-meter springboard on Sunday. Her teammate, Wang Han, took home the silver, highlighting China’s dominance in the precision sport, in which perfection must be achieved in seconds. Krysta Palmer of the United States completed the medals with bronze.
Shi, a 29-year-old veteran who began her athletic career at age 6 as a gymnast before moving to diving five years later, unleashed a 2 1/2 inward somersault pike for her first dive and topped him off with a forward 2 1/2 somersaults 1 pike twist for his fifth and final dive. His score of 383.50 topped the standings, Wang 348.75.
At the Rio 2016 Games, Shi won gold in the 3-meter springboard and the 3-meter synchronized events.
Dive routines happen so quickly that they look like a fast-forwarding video. Judges are expected to deliver almost as quick verdicts on athlete performance.
The Chinese Olympic diving team, formed at state training facilities early in elementary school, dominated the competition for years.
In Tokyo, they captured gold in the women’s 3-meter synchronized event, the women’s 10-meter platform synchronized event and the men’s 3-meter synchronized event. The only gold that has eluded the team so far was in the men’s 10-meter synchronized platform event, in which they won silver.
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