China's 15-year-old Ren Qian wins gold in women's 10m; USA misses podium
She stayed in the shadow of her elder countrywoman through the preliminary and semifinal, but reigning World Cup champion Ren Qian strung together a dominant list of dives in the women's individual 10m platform final Thursday in Rio to secure another diving gold medal for China.
On a clear, warm day with very little wind at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Center, 15-year-old Ren totaled 439.25 points for the top spot with 17-year-old Si Yajie, who placed first in both the preliminary and semifinal, taking silver right behind her with 419.40 points.
Canada's Meaghan Benfeito, who took bronze in the synchronized platform event last week, won another bronze with 389.20 points.
After clean, ripped entries on every attempt through the first two rounds, USA's Jessica Parratto miscalculated a number of dives in the final and finished in 10th with 334.60 points.
"You have little misses here and there. This field is very close and you have to be on in the finals," Parratto said. "It’s just a little bit of fine tuning on those dives and hopefully next time around I can do a little better."
The 22-year-old was in third place after the first two dives of the final, but Parratto produced large splashes on her inward 3.5 tuck and armstand back triple tuck in the third and fourth rounds, which put the podium out of reach. Still, the Olympic rookie can be proud of placing third in the preliminary and second in the semifinal -- ahead of gold medalist Ren.
"I tried not to think about that," Parratto said. "I just wanted to have a good experience and it didn’t matter where I ended up. I just wanted to enjoy the whole thing, and no matter what, hopefully I’m going to be back in four years and improve."
For Parratto, it was her first time reaching the final of an international meet after reaching the semifinals three times in her career.
"I got in the final, and that was huge for me," Parratto said. "Obviously I didn’t do as well as I did in the prelims and semis, but splitting with the Chinese (in the semis), that meant a lot to me. They’re amazing divers, so having to go after them, they’re pretty much flawless. You know, that was really special to me. This was my first world final. I couldn’t be more excited."
Ren, who became the fourth youngest ever to win gold in the women's individual 10m, was the only diver to tally more than 90 points on a single dive ... and she did it in each of her final three passes. Earning a number of 10s -- the only ones given in the event -- along the way, she scored 94.05 on her third dive and 91.20 on each of her final dives to seal the gold medal.
The level of competition increased significantly from the first two rounds with plenty of ripped entries and higher scores in the final, making spots on the podium well earned.
Seven of the eight diving events in the Rio Games have now concluded with China taking gold in all but one. With just the men's 10m platform event remaining, Great Britain's first-place finish in the men's synchronized 3m springboard event last Wednesday, won by Jack Laugher and Chris Mears, is the only thing currently preventing China from sweeping the diving events in the Rio Games.
China has now taken gold in the women's individual 10m platform in each of the past three Summer Olympics.
Jessica Parratto's list
1. Forward 3.5 pike -- 3.0 -- 81.00
2. Back 3.5 tuck -- 3.3 -- 79.20
3. Inward 3.5 tuck -- 3.2 -- 44.80
4. Armstand back triple tuck -- 3.3 -- 52.80
5. Back 2.5 pike 1.5 twists -- 3.2 -- 76.80
Total score: 344.60
USA Diving media services contributed to this report