Double gold for China's Chen; Boudia earns 10m bronze for USA
The weather took a turn for the worse Saturday afternoon at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but the competition was a stiff as ever in the men's individual 10m platform final.
Battling the rain, it was China's Chen Aisen, the man who took gold in the synchronized 10m earlier these Olympics, emerging from a tightly contested field to claim the individual 10m gold medal with 585.30 points.
Mexico's German Sanchez won silver with 532.70 points and USA's David Boudia, the reigning Olympic champion, totaled 525.25 to claim bronze -- the final diving medal of the 2016 Rio Games.
Boudia is the first American to win back-to-back Olympic medals in the 10m platform since Greg Louganis won gold in 1984 and 1988.
"You’re doing 18 dives off a three-story building. Your body’s beat up, you’re tired, mentally exhausted, but I’m glad to be standing here with a bronze medal around my neck," Boudia said. "It could have gone differently, but I’m glad this is the way it turned out."
Boudia changed the order of his dives for the final, moving his most difficult dive -- the forward 4.5 tuck -- to the end of his program. He didn't quite nail the entry in the final and scored a 68.25, allowing Sanchez to overtake him for silver.
"This dive has been a thorn in my side the last four years," Boudia said. "My takeoff is absolutely perfect, but I cannot find the bottom to save the life of me. I chose to do it at the end of this competition because I wanted that pressure. I live off those nerves, and I wanted that. I just didn’t go my way."
China's Qiu Bo, the three-time World champion who entered as the favorite, delivered the perfect dive in the third round, scoring 102.00 on a reverse 3.5 tuck in which he received 10s from all seven judges. Just like the semifinal, though, Qiu's program was marred by inconsistency. He backed up his perfect dive with a 102.60, but bookended his two 102-pointers with a pair of medal-spoiling 47-point attempts for a disappointing sixth-place finish.
It was quite a finale for Chen, a 20-year-old competing in his first Olympic Games. Just needing an average score on his final attempt after distancing himself from the field, Chen delivered a blinding 108-point dive to seal the gold, marking the highest-scoring dive of the entire Olympics on the very last attempt. A pillar of stoicism throughout the competition, emotions overwhelmed Chen as the final scores hit the board, his double gold locked in Olympic history.
China leaves Rio with seven gold medals in eight diving events, prevented from perfection by the men's synchronized 3m springboard victory for Great Britain's Jack Laugher and Chris Mears.
David Boudia's list
1. Armstand back double free 2.5 twists -- 3.6 -- 88.20
2. Inward 3.5 tuck -- 3.2 -- 94.40
3. Reverse 3.5 tuck -- 3.4 -- 81.60
4. Back 3.5 pike -- 3.6 -- 90.00
5. Back 2.5 pike 2.5 twists -- 3.6 -- 102.60
6. Foward 4.5 tuck -- 3.7 -- 68.45
Total score: 525.25
USA Diving media services contributed to this report