Shi Tingmao, with Wang Han, Repeats as Women’s 3-Meter Synchro Champ

Jul 25, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Shi Tingmao and Wang Han (CHN) during the women's synchronized 3m springboard diving competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Network
China's Shi Tingmao and Wang Han; Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Network

Shi Tingmao, with Wang Han, Repeats as Women’s 3-Meter Synchro Champ

Five years ago, Shi Tingmao won gold at the Rio Olympics alongside Wu Minxia.

In Tokyo, Shi’s partner is different, but the result is the same.

Shi and Wang Han dominated the women’s synchronized three-meter springboard final Sunday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, tallying 326.40 points to win by more than 25 points over the field in the Tokyo Olympics.

Silver went to Jennifer Abel and Melissa Citrini Beaulieu of Canada, with German’s Lena Hentschel and Tina Punzel winning bronze.

Wang and Shi were first or tied for first after all five rounds. Their only wobble, slight as it was, was on the second-round reverse one-and-a-half somersault, half twist, which was merely the third-best dive of the round among the eight competitors. They were still tied at round’s end and went on to cruise to gold, building on their 2019 world championship.

Shi Tingmao is one of the world’s more decorated divers. She won the three-meter springboard in Rio in addition to the synchro title. Wang is in her first Olympics at age 30, though she has nine World Championships medals, including three golds. Wang won gold in the three-meter mixed synchro in 2015 and 2017 as well as the 2019 women’s synchro title with Shi.

Wang and Shi produced three of the competition’s five dives yielding 70 or more points, including the three biggest of the day. They saved the best for last, earning 76.50 points on the fifth and final round, on their inward two-and-a-half.

“I think no matter what we get, gold or silver, it doesn’t define our success,” Shi said. “It shows we are on the right road when we achieve our goals. This is our first gold medal of this Olympics, so now I feel much more comfortable. I know we can be even better and China will do better. I’m feeling a good nervous.”

The other two 70-point dives were turned in by Abel and Citrini Beaulieu. They needed them, as the Canadian duo sat sixth after two dives. Their big scorer, a forward three-and-a-half, in the fourth round put them in position to improve on Abel’s bronze from the 2012 Olympics.

“I’m very happy, super satisfied,” Abel said. “I couldn’t ask for a better day. It hasn’t been easy, and also for Melissa it’s her first Olympic Games being by my side. It’s not easy for her, too. But we did it as a team since 2017, and we’re here today. Super satisfied.”

The American duo of Alison Gibson and Krysta Palmer was tied for first after the compulsory dives, but even ratcheting up the degree of difficult didn’t prevent them from sliding to eighth. They had the lowest-scoring dives of the third and fourth rounds before delivering 65.28 points on their fifth and final, a forward two-and-a-half somersault, two-twist. But even that 3.4 DD dive didn’t lift them from eighth.

“We’re just so happy and blessed to be here, honestly,” said Palmer, who competes in the individual three-meter later in the week. “I think going into it we just wanted to have fun and stay as relaxed as possible, that’s what helps us dive. So keeping that, keeping who we are in the mix of our diving is what we wanted to do.”

Hentscshel and Punzel delivered in the final round to bump up from fourth to third. The Italian duo of Elena Bertocchi and Chiara Pellacani struggled in the fifth round, with the lowest-scoring dive of that round to fall from third to seventh.

Women’s 3-meter Synchro

  1. Shi Tingmao/Wang Han, China 326.40
  2. Jennifer Abel/Melissa Citrini Beaulieu, Canada, 300.78
  3. Lena Hentschel/Tina Punzel, Germany, 284.97
  4. Dolores Hernandez Monzon/Christina Mendoza Hernandez, Mexico, 275.10
  5. Hurka Enomoto/Hazuki Miyamoto, Japan, 269.40
  6. Grace Reid/Katherine Torrance, Great Britain, 269.10
  7. Elena Bertocchi/Chiara Pellacani, Italy, 267.48
  8. Alison Gibson/Krysta Palmer, United States, 263.49