Years of “very boring” training each day paid off as China withstood pressure from the United States to make it a hat-trick of diving golds at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.
Teenager Wang Zongyuan and Xie Siyi led from start to finish to win a slightly chaotic men’s synchronised 3m springboard final with 467.82 points, and in doing so underline China’s supremacy in diving.
Silver went to the Americans Andrew Capobianco and Michael Hixon (444.36 points) and Germany’s Patrick Hausding and Lars Rudiger snatched bronze with their final attempt, having been out of the medals until then.
China can no longer complete a golden sweep in the Tokyo diving, after Britain’s Tom Daley and Matty Lee won on Monday, but they already have three gold medals in the bag and four more are up for grabs. They won seven diving golds at Rio 2016.
Xie, the more senior of the pairing at 25, lifted the lid a little on what makes China so dominant in diving.
“We live together, we train together, that is why we have the same pace, that is why we have this tacit understanding and can be synchronised,” he said of his relationship with Wang.
In unusually blunt terms for China’s often guarded athletes, Xie added: “Training is very boring.
“Every day we go from the dormitory to the training centre, then we go back to eat, then we go back to training, then we go back to sleep again. It’s very boring and we do it every day the same, that’s why we need each other to boost each other.”
China’s diving squad – nicknamed the “Dream Team” back home – came to the Japanese capital hoping to go one better than Rio 2016 and win all eight gold medals.
However, that ambition was ruined on only day two when Daley and Lee took advantage of some uncharacteristically wayward Chinese diving to win the men’s synchronised 10m platform crown.
The 19-year-old Wang, who is a world champion but at his first Olympics, said his life would change immediately now that he was a Games gold medallist.
“Three hours ago I was an anonymous athlete. Now I can say that I am an Olympic champion,” he said. “I have a lot of emotions in my head right now,” he added.
There was disappointment for Britain, the holders of the synchronised 3m springboard, as they finished second from last.
Meanwhile the Russians – Evgenii Kuznetsov cut a striking figure with his beard and head tattoos – were looking good for bronze before a failed final dive left them bottom of the pile.
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