BARCELONA, Spain, July 17. IN a stunning upset, Canada's Emilie Heymans upset China's Lao Lishi and Li Na to win the women's 10-meter platform diving crown at the World Championships in Barcelona.
THE women's platform started with the morning preliminaries as 38 divers fought the windy condition more than each other. Yesterday's high standard in the men's springboard created high expectations for this women's event. But the wind got even stronger during the day and affected everyone's performance. Nothing is worse than the wind, even strong rain is better. The wind changes how everyone performs and quality suffers the most.
The usually confident Chinese divers, Lao Lishi and Li Na were visibly upset and did not perform as they did during the synchro event.
The Chinese moved into the lead during the semifinals, ahead of Loudy Tourky (AUS) and Lynda Dackiw (AUS) who dropping to third and fourth. Li put on a classic performance worth 205.47 points for the four dives in the semifinals.
Canada's Emilie Heymans performance during the semis was so good that it moved her from 8th in the prelims to 4th putting her just 12 points behind the Chinese.
The windy condition took the usual advantage Chinese divers have in executing their near perfect performance and gave everyone else a chance at better marks.
Lao and Emilie Heymans surprised the spectators with very difficult free programs. What was once the exclusive domain of the Chinese has now been adopted by Heymans. A 2-1/2 back with a 1-1/2 twist or an armstand back with 3 sommersaults would only by attempted by Lao, and is usually the exclusive domain of male divers. But today Lao could not execute these very difficult dives, receiving only 7-7.5s and it cost her the gold.
Heymans clinched the gold in her final dive where she got 9s and 10s for a total of 95.88 to edge Lao out by two points. It was her first-ever medal outside of the Olympics and only the second Canadian gold at a World Championship.
Li was third. The USA's Laura wilkinson, gold medalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, placed a disappointing eighth. The second US diver, Sara Hidebrand, placed 19th in prelims and did not advance to the semis.
Women's 10-meter platform diving
1 HEYMANS Emilie, CAN 597.45
2 LAO Lishi, CHN 595.56
3 LI Na, CHN 563.43
4 ZHUPINA Olena, UKR 526.26
5 TOURKY Loudy, AUS 522.54
6 GAMM Annett, GER 517.86
7 FEBVAY Claire, FRA 505.86
8 WILKIINSON Laura, USA 485.40
9 KOLTUNOVA Julia, RUS 480.99
10 DACKIW Lynda, AUS 471.00
11 CAGNOTTO Tania, ITA 456.21
12 HARTLEY Blythe, CAN 444.36