Wu leads charge for China as British divers miss podium
Britain’s Alicia Blagg and Rebecca Gallantree missed out on a medal in the first diving competition of the Games, finishing a creditable fifth in the synchronised 3-metre springboard. On a dank evening at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre, a light drizzle blended into the pool almost as inconspicuously as the Chinese pair of Shi Tingmao and Wu Minxia, who swept to gold by the ridiculous margin of 32 points.
Tania Cagnotto and Francesca Dallape of Italy took the silver, with Australia’s Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith taking bronze.
Above all, this was another story of Chinese excellence. If this were a car race, they would have lapped the field. After claiming six golds and two silvers in London, they are aiming for a clean sweep of eight this time around. For Wu, her fourth consecutive gold medal in this event and her fifth in total set a new record in the sport, as well as making her, at 30, the oldest woman to win an Olympic diving gold. Any conversation over the greatest diver in history would unquestionably need to include her.
Blagg and Gallantree, the Commonwealth gold medallists and European silver medallists, produced a performance that was just about par, marred only by a couple of niggling errors in the middle section. They actually sat in bronze medal position after their first two dives, but as the degrees of difficulty began to ratchet up, they began to slip down the leaderboard.
They dropped to fourth after their third dive, a forward 2½ somersault in which Blagg strayed too far from the board. Their fourth dive, a back 2½ somersaults with pike, was marked down by the 11 judges for Gallantree’s angle of entry, which was slightly awry. That dropped them to sixth, and there they stayed.