By M. Duncan Scott
ATHENS, Greece, August 25. CHINA’S PENG Bo is the new Men's 3m Springboard Olympic Champion, giving China its fourth diving gold in Athens, per reports from Athens organizers.
In a very high-level competition, PENG took the gold with 787.38 points, ahead of Canadian Alexandre DESPATIE, who had 755.97 points and Dmitri SAUTIN from Russia who finished third with 753.27 points.
Each of the medalists had lead at a milepost in the competition, with Despatie the leader through the preliminaries, Sautin, a 1996 diving gold medalist, the semi-final leader and Peng taking over early in the final session and pressing through to victory. Only 1.44 points separated these three champions entering the finals. There was great depth as six divers surpassed the once magical 700 point mark…and seventh was simply the defending world champion in the event!
PENG, the 3m Springboard silver medallist of the 2003 World Championships, showed the most consistency throughout the semifinal and final competition. Ranking second, and going into the final with 0.21 points behind SAUTIN, PENG took the lead with the first dive and held on to that position until the end. His performance was highlighted by a close to perfect forward 3.5 somersault in the second round earning him five maximum 10.0 scores.
USA Diving reported that Troy Dumais (Ventura, Calif.) turned in a solid performance in the men’s 3-meter springboard finals finishing sixth with 701.46 points (total from five semifinal dives and six final dives). Dumais had three dives over 80 points but that wasn’t enough to catch a medal.
Four years ago no one would have dreamed that a score over 700 would only be sixth. “It was a tough competition,” Dumais said. “You can’t miss a dive and I don’t feel like I really missed anything. I just didn’t hit a couple dives like I could have but that is diving. Some things don’t come your way each and every day. My hat is off to the medal winners because they did a heck of a job and it was very impressive.”
Coach Ken Armstrong (Conroe, Texas) has said numerous times that he compares the jump in the level of diving the past four years like going from high jump to pole vault. “What an unbelievable and phenomenal contest that was,” Armstrong said. “No one ever thought that 700 was possible and now we have six or seven guys doing it. The level of diving right now is out of this world and it is only going to get higher and better.” Armstrong was pleased with the outcome of the contest and was just amazed by the tough competition.
“I thought Troy did a great job,” Armstrong said. “He was a little short on his double out but everything else was really solid. You just can’t miss anything anymore and we are not talking easy dives. We are talking the hardest dive in the books. Troy is very talented and one of the best in the world as was evident tonight. If you make it to the finals in this event you have done a great job.”
Dumais plans to return to Austin, Texas, to finish his degree in Exercise Science at the University of Texas and fulfill a promise he made to his mother, Kathleen. He will continue to train under Armstrong at the Centralized Training Center in The Woodlands, Texas, and plans to go for gold in Beijing in 2008.
“My job is not done,” Dumais said. “My goal is to win a gold medal at the Olympics and I will continue to compete until I do.”
Olympic Aquatic Centre – TUE 24 AUG 2004 – Start Time: 21:47
Rank Name NOC Semi-final Points Final Points Total Points Points Behind
1 PENG Bo
256.17 531.21 787.38
2 DESPATIE Alexandre
254.73 501.24 755.97 31.41
3 SAUTIN Dmitri
256.38 496.89 753.27 34.11
4 WANG Feng
240.42 510.30 750.72 36.66
5 PLATAS Fernando
232.02 472.23 704.25 83.13
6 DUMAIS Troy
239.91 461.55 701.46 85.92
7 DOBROSKOK Alexander
228.09 469.20 697.29 90.09
8 TERAUCHI Ken
245.64 444.36 690.00 97.38
9 CASTRO Cesar
230.28 432.69 662.97 124.41
10 PACHECO Rommel
221.85 420.84 642.69 144.69
11 LYSENKO Dmytro
219.57 410.07 629.64 157.74
12 NEWBERY Robert
228.60 391.74 620.34 167.04
The Olympic Diving competitions will continue tomorrow, 25 August, with the Women's 3m Springboard preliminaries at 13.30 at the Olympic Aquatic Centre. Rachelle Kunkel (West Valley City, Utah) and Kimiko Soldati (Magnolia, Texas) will represent the United States.