Brits win 10M synchro, no golden sweep for China’s divers
TOKYO (AP) — Tom Daley’s husband already has an impressive prize on display at their house. Now, Daley can add an Olympic gold medal to the collection.
Daley and Matty Lee of Britain narrowly won the 10-meter synchronized diving on Monday at the Tokyo Olympics, upsetting favored China and keeping the diving powerhouse from any chance of a golden sweep.
Daley and Lee totaled 471.81 points in the final, edging the Chinese duo of Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen by 1.23 points. Cao and Chen settled for silver with 470.58.
Daley’s American-born husband, Dustin Lance Black, won a screenwriting Oscar in 2008 for “Milk.” Black keeps it in a downstairs bathroom, leading visitors to mistake it for a toilet brush.
“I don’t know know why he does that,” Daley said. “He says it’s something about he doesn’t want to give it any more power than it needs.”
The couple married in 2017 and had their first child, a son, the following year.
“The fact that I can say my son watched me become an Olympic champion, albeit on TV because they couldn’t be here, is such a great feeling,” Daley said.
He credited marriage and fatherhood as the “massive turning point” in his career.
“I realize that whether I do really well or I do terribly in the pool, I can go home to a husband and son that love me, regardless,” Daley said. “Knowing that love is unconditional, I can take that pressure off of myself. I can actually enjoy it.”
Long the face of British diving, Daley earned his first gold medal in his fourth Olympics partnering with Lee, who is at his first Games. Daley won bronze in 10-meter synchro with a different partner five years ago in Rio de Janeiro, and bronze in individual 10-meter in 2012 at the London Games in his home country.
“I’ve dreamt of having this medal since I started diving 20 years ago,” Daley said.
The Chinese led through the first three rounds. The Brits took over the lead for good on their fourth dive, but it was close.
“We had some mistakes that caused us to have low points,” Cao said through a translator.
Cao and Chen trailed by only 1.74 points after their fifth dive, setting the stage for a dramatic finish.
Daley and Lee went first, earning one perfect 10 for a forward 4 1/2 somersault tuck. Every other mark but one was a 9.0 or 9.5. They then nervously waited to see if their total would hold up.
Cao and Chen went last, executing a back 2 1/2 somersault with 2 1/2 twists pike that earned marks ranging from 9.0 to 9.5. The Chinese earned two 10s during the round, but their last dive didn’t have as high a degree of difficulty as the Brits.
“We had some mistakes, especially in the fourth round,” Cao said through a translator. “We are quite disappointed.”
When the final marks were posted, the British contingent in the mostly empty stands erupted in cheers. Daley and Lee, watching nervously from the pool deck, pumped their fists and Daley jumped into the arms of Lee when they realized the gold was theirs.
“They kept doing their best with no mistakes,” Cao said. “They performed very well.”
The defeat ended China’s streak of four straight Olympic gold medals in men’s synchro platform dating to 2004.
Alexsandr Bondar and Viktor Minibaev of ROC took bronze with 439.92 points.
China won the first diving event of the Tokyo Olympics in women’s 3-meter synchro springboard on Sunday. Shi Tingmao and Wang Han won by 25.62 points.
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