China’s diving diva Wu Minxia captured her third synchronized 3m springboard Olympic gold medal with victory with a partner He Zi in the final on Sunday.
In the first of China’s quest for all eight diving gold medals in London, Wu and He, the reigning world champions from Shanghai last year, dominated the competition with 346.20 points to claim victory.
The US pair of Abigail Johnston and Kelci Bryant took silver with 321.90 points, while Canada’s Emilie Heymans and Jennifer Abel claimed bronze with 316.80.
“We managed to stay focused and calm during the final, and constantly encouraged each other in each dive and finally we succeeded in doing our best,” Wu said. “We felt at home here because there were so many Chinese supporters in the crowd.”
Although it was Wu’s third springboard synchronized Olympic gold, it was her first with new partner He.
She teamed up with China’s legendary Guo Jingjing to take two gold medals in the previous two Olympics.
“I don’t see much difference in diving with my two partners,” Wu said.
Wu, 26, can leave the London Games as the most successful Olympian in the sport along with the retired Guo Jingjing if she wins her remaining 3m springboard event to add to her current tally of five medals.
She won the last two synchronized gold medals with Guo in Athens and Beijing.
Wu gets her chance to join Guo with six Olympic medals in the individual 3m springboard, which has its final on Sunday.
The Chinese pair’s highlights were a competition-high 80.10 points for a reverse 2.5 somersault and a back 2.5 somersault.
They led after all five rounds of dives and gradually extended their advantage when the US pair received a 74.70 for their forward 2.5 somersault with one twist.
Wu said the key to Sunday’s triumph was her coordination with He, who is making her Olympic debut.
He said the gold medal was the culmination of a long-held dream.
“I did not expect I could become an Olympic champion. Now my dream came true,” she said.
Heymans with her bronze won her fourth Olympic medal.
“It’s awesome. I’m really happy I was able to win my fourth medal with Jennifer,” Heymans said. “We’ve worked really hard for this for the past two years, and we’re really glad it went well and it’s finally over.”