Tom Daley shines in 10m prelims; Boudia, Johnson, Qiu, Chen all advance
It was only the preliminary, but plenty of big scores hit the board Friday afternoon in a tightly contested opening round of the final diving event of the 2016 Rio Olympics -- the men's individual 10m platform.
Great Britain's Tom Daley laid down a near flawless list en route to the top qualifying spot on a calm and comfortable evening at Maria Lenk Aquatics Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His 571.85 total points would have been enough to take gold in both the 10m final at the 2016 World Cup in Rio and the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Daley was pressed throughout the prelim, however, by China's two competitors. Qiu Bo finished second with 564.75 points and Chen Aisen placed third with 545.35 points.
USA's David Boudia, the reigning gold medalist, overcame a missed entry in the third round to place fourth with 496.55 points.
Fellow American Steele Johnson made life difficult when he overcooked his fourth dive and kicked up a big splash and a small score. He found himself in 18th place going into the final round of dives and did not deliver his finest. But with 403.75 total points, Johnson barely squeaked through to the semifinal -- where the scores will reset -- settling in the 18th and final qualifying position in the prelim.
"I had no idea where I was (in the standings)," Johnson said. "When I’m missing dives like that, I’m always assuming the worst. I didn’t know what anyone else was doing, so I assumed (I) was probably 24th or 25th."
Mexico's Ivan Garcia boasts the field's most difficult program. The only individual to attempt a dive with a degree of difficulty over 4.0, Garcia's inward 4.5 tuck, carrying a degree of difficulty of 4.1, earned him 84.05 points on his way to 15th place and the semis.
The hometown crowd got behind Brazil's Hugo Parisi, whose dives were bookended by huge ovations. Parisi will be back on Saturday in the semifinal after totaling 422.45 points, good enough for 13th place.
While 10s have been rare in the Rio Games, the top of the leaderboard coaxed their fair share from the judges on Friday. Daley, the 2012 bronze medalist, delivered the top-scoring dive of the three-hour event, totaling 103.60 points in the fourth round with a forward 4.5 tuck.
Qiu was the only other competitor to break the 100-point mark, scoring 102.60 on his back 3.5 pike, also in the fourth round.
The gauntlet was thrown from the very start, when Chen rolled out of bed with a 91.80-point reverse 3.5 tuck on the first dive. Chen scored upwards on 90 points on four of his six dives, topping out at 99.00.
The following 18 competitors advanced to the men's individual 10m semifinal on Saturday morning: Tom Daley (GBR), Qiu Bo (CHN), Chen Aisen (CHN), David Boudia (USA), Benjamin Auffret (FRA), Martin Wolfram (GER), Sascha Klein (GER), Viktor Minibaev (RUS), James Connor (AUS), Rafael Quintero (PUR), Woo Haram (KOR), German Sanchez (MEX), Hugo Parisi (BRA), Vincent Riendeau (CAN), Ivan Garcia (MEX), Nikita Shleikher (RUS), Domonic Bedggood (AUS), Steele Johnson (USA).
The following competitors were eliminated from contention: Maxim Bouchard (CAN), Victor Ortega (COL), Jesus Liranzo (VEN), Tze Liang Ooi (MAS), Robert Paez (VEN), Vadim Kaptur (BLR), Sebastian Villa (COL), Yauheni Karaliou (BLR), Maicol Verzotto (ITA), Mohab Ishak (EGY).
David Boudia's list
1. Armstand back double free 2.5 twists -- 3.6 -- 88.20
2. Inward 3.5 tuck -- 3.2 -- 86.40
3. Foward 4.5 tuck -- 3.7 -- 49.95
4. Reverse 3.5 tuck -- 3.4 -- 88.40
5. Back 3.5 pike -- 3.6 -- 97.20
6. Back 2.5 pike 2.5 twists -- 3.6 -- 86.40
Total score: 496.55
Steele Johnson's list
1. Armstand back double free 2.5 twists -- 3.6 -- 70.20
2. Inward 3.5 tuck -- 3.2 -- 86.40
3. Back 3.5 tuck -- 3.3 -- 84.15
4. Forward 4.5 tuck -- 3.7 -- 37.00
5. Reverse 3.5 tuck -- 3.4 -- 61.20
6. Back 2.5 pike 2.5 twists -- 3.6 -- 64.80
Total score: 403.75
USA Diving media services contributed to this report