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July 26, 2021

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Chinese divers scoop gold in the pool

The rest of the diving world watches China pile up Olympic gold medals. The Chinese insist they’re focused on the process, regardless of what it produces.

The result was the same in the first diving event of the Tokyo Olympics. China won the women’s 3-meter synchronized springboard to get started on what many predict could be a golden sweep of the eight events.

Shi Tingmao and Wang Han totaled 326.40 points, easily winning by 25.62 points. Jennifer Abel and Olympic rookie Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu of Canada took silver with 300.78. Lena Hentschel and Tina Punzel of Germany earned bronze with 284.97.

The US duo of Alison Gibson and Krysta Palmer finished last among eight teams in their Olympic debuts.

Shi and Wang led each of the five rounds, tying with the US after their second dive. They earned scores ranging from 8.0 to 9.0 for their last dive, an inward 2 1/2 somersaults pike that carries a 3.0 degree of difficulty. “We don’t define our success by the gold medal,” Shi said. “It’s just the work. The gold medal means we trained hard.”

The Chinese have won 37 of 48 gold medals at the last seven Olympics. The country’s women have not lost an Olympic diving event since 2004. This is their fifth consecutive victory in synchronized springboard, their only loss coming when the event debuted at the 2000 Sydney Games.

“The way they lead, the way they train is probably different from the rest of the world,” Abel said. “When we come here, we don’t aim for second place. We aim to be at our best. If our best is second place, then it’s like a gold.”

Shi won her third Olympic medal. She teamed with Wu Minxia to capture gold in Rio de Janeiro five years ago in synchro springboard and won the 3m individual title, too.

“I just want to enjoy my competitions,” Shi said. “I care nothing about the medals.”


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