China's Wu wins record 5th Olympic diving gold medal
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 08, 2016 07:17 AM
China's Shi Tingmao, right, and Wu Minxia, left, compete during the women's synchronized 3-meter springboard diving final in the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Wu Minxia ended her record-setting Olympic career the way it began: with a gold medal.
Shi Tingmao and Wu totaled 345.60 points to win the women's 3-meter synchronized title Sunday in the first diving event of the Rio de Janeiro Games. They led throughout the five-round competition and won by a whopping 31.77 points on an overcast day at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center, where light rain briefly fell.
"We have a very high standard," Wu said through a translator.
Wu claimed her fourth consecutive gold in 3-meter synchro, becoming the first woman to win four golds in the same event at the Olympics. She also won in 2004, 2008 and 2012, and has had three different partners.
The 30-year-old Chinese also made history as the first diver to win five career golds, having won the 3-meter individual event four years ago in London. She won't defend that title in Rio.
"When I first got into diving, I thought it was a very exciting sport," Wu said. "My personality, I always want to win."
She also owns silver and bronze in individual 3-meter from the 2004 Athens Games and 2008 Beijing Games.
Wu is the oldest female diver to win gold in the Olympics, a mark previously held by American Micki King, who won 3-meter springboard at 28 in the 1972 Munich Games.
Shi and Wu routinely hit their dives for scores of 9.0 and higher, totaling 81.00 points on their final dive, a backward 2½-somersault pike. They climbed out of the water and embraced, knowing the gold was secure with five other teams still to dive.
Italy's Tania Cagnotto and Francesca Dallape took silver at 313.83. Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith of Australia rallied from last to earn the bronze with 299.19, edging Canada by less than a point.
"We are used to diving against the Chinese," Cagnotto said. "We don't even think about the gold. Gold is for China."
Cagnotto finally won her first medal in her fifth Olympics. She just missed in London, finishing fourth in both 3-meter synchro and the individual springboard event. Her father and coach Giorgio Cagnotto owns four Olympic diving medals of his own. Cagnotto and Dallape held onto second through each round.
"We were still remembering when we lost the medal by less than two points," Cagnotto said. "We just hope it would be destiny that today we get this medal."
The Aussies were last after two rounds before coming up big on their last dive to hold off the Canadian duo of Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware. Keeney and Smith scored 71.10 points in the final round, while Abel and Ware only managed 67.50.
Abel and Ware anxiously waited in the water for their scores. When they saw the numbers, they were crushed. One of them sunk her head underwater.
"You know when you missed a dive," Abel said. "You know when it's pretty much going to decide the score. I kind of knew."
Wu's teammate, Chen Ruolin, could match her with a fifth gold in Rio. Chen is entered in 10-meter synchro, an event she has won at the last two Olympics.