China’s Wu Minxia won the women’s 3m springboard diving gold medal to draw level with Guo Jingjing as the most-decorated diver at the Olympics with six medals on Sunday.
World champion Wu, 26, totaled 414.00 points from her five dives to beat teammate He Zi (379.20) and Mexico’s Laura Sanchez (362.40).
Wu’s victory was China’s fifth gold medal from five events as they attempt an unprecedented sweep of all eight diving medals in London.
China won seven out of eight diving events at the Beijing Games four years ago, having won all 10 diving golds at last year’s Shanghai world championships.
“Every dive I did today was quite perfect and I got the gold medal, that’s why I was emotional, I’m very excited. I have worked for so many years for that, it’s not easy,” Wu said.
Wu, who won the synchronized 3m springboard with He on the opening day of the competition, has now the 3m synchro gold medal three times and is an Olympic bronze medalist from Beijing 2008. She also has a silver from Athens 2004.
Her successes come just days after a Chinese newspaper revealed her parents had kept the death of her grandparents and her mother’s struggle with cancer a secret from the champion diver in order not to distract her preparations for the London Games.
“I think it’s not only Chinese athletes who are separated from their families, parents seldom come to our training base, however we are like a big family, we train together from different bases,” Wu said. “Maybe there is some distance from your real family, however, the distance will stop us feeling they are not beside us and their support.”
“Now there is the technology where we can ring every day and I feel lots of care from my family all the time,” she added. “I choose to be a diver, so I will pursue this goal and fulfill my dream.”
Wu reeled off an impeccable back 2.5 somersault on her last dive to clinch the gold medal with a score of 85.50.
She led after the opening round with 79.50 for a back 2.5 somersault from Italy’s Tania Cragnotto and He.
He nailed 83.70 for a forward 3.5 somersault to take the lead from Wu (79.75) with Cragnotto dropping back to third.
However, Wu retrieved the lead with a gem forward 3.5 somersault which netted her 85.25.
Another exquisite dive, a reverse 2.5 somersault, earned Wu 84.00 to give her a 13.50 points buffer over He going into the fifth and final round.
Wu made sure of her first individual Olympic gold medal with her showstopper final dive to beat her teammate home by 34.80 points.
China began their bid for a sixth diving gold with the preliminaries of the men’s 3m springboard yesterday.
Cagnotto, competing at her fourth Games, was chasing a first Olympic medal, 40 years after father and coach Giorgio Cagnotto won the first of four medals.
Yet it was heartbreak again for the Italian, who finished with 362.20 points, and missing bronze by just 0.20. She also finished fourth in the synchronized 3m springboard event.