China wins first diving medal

Guo Jingjing and Wu Minxia of China won the first diving gold medal of the Beijing Games in the three-metre synchronised springboard discipline.

Guo Jingjing, right, and Wu Minxia of China display their gold medals after winning gold in the women's synchronized 3-metre springboard diving.
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BEIJING // Guo Jingjing and Wu Minxia of China won the first diving gold medal of the Beijing Games, putting the host country on a path toward a possible sweep of the eight medals. Guo and Wu, the current world champions, defended the three-metre synchronised springboard title they won four years ago in Athens, finishing with 343.50 points. They led through all five rounds of the competition, and were cheered wildly by their red flag-waving countrymen in the Water Cube. Julia Pakhalina and Anastasia Pozdnyakova of Russia took silver with 323.61. Ditte Kotzian and Heike Fischer of Germany earned the bronze with 318.90. Americans Kelci Bryant and Ariel Rittenhouse missed a medal by 4.5 points, finishing fourth with 314.40. The USA have not won a diving medal since 2000, having been shut out in Athens in 2004. Bryant and Rittenhouse were tied for first after the opening round, fell to fifth, then climbed into a two-way tie for third with five 8.0 marks on their third dive. Fans of the USA team booed when the duo's marks for execution - ranging from 6.0 to 7.5 - were posted after their fourth dive, which dropped them to fifth. They improved enough on their final dive to move into fourth. The Chinese fans were especially boisterous when Guo and Wu received three 10s for synchronicity on their backward dive in the second round. Pakhalina returned to the medals podium for her third Olympics, though, this time with a different partner. The Russian won gold in the event at Sydney and silver in Athens with Vera Ilyna, who later retired. Fischer and Kotzian finished second to Guo and Wu at last year's world championships.