China authors most dominant diving world championships in history
Yang Jian put an exclamation point on China’s most dominant world diving championships ever, winning the men’s platform with the highest finals score in recent history to end the meet.
Yang tallied 10s in each of the last two rounds to hold off countryman Yang Hao (who had all 10s in round four) with 598.65 points. Yang Hao tallied 585.75 for silver, 44.7 points ahead of Russian bronze medalist Aleksandr Bondar.
Ukrainian 13-year-old Oleksii Sereda took fourth.
British star Tom Daley, the defending world champion who had the previous recent highest score of 590.95 points, dropped out of the medals in the fifth round with the lowest score (46.25) of the 72 dives from 12 entrants. He ended up seventh.
Americans Brandon Loschiavo and David Dinsmore placed eighth and 12th, respectively.
China won all 12 events that it entered at diving worlds, skipping a mixed-gender springboard Saturday that’s not on the Olympic program.
China, which has dominated the sport for two decades, won every event that it entered at an Olympics or worlds for the second time after going 10 for 10 in 2011.
This year’s feat is more impressive because mixed-gender events were added to the world program (but not the Olympic program) since 2011. And this year, China not only won every gold but also every silver in the four individual Olympic program events.
Yang Jian is an interesting story in particular. In 2014, he broke the record for highest-scoring dive with a 123-point, front four-and-a-half, leading 2012 Olympic champion David Boudia to dub him the 2016 Olympic favorite.
But Yang struggled with injury in 2015, dropped to 10th at those worlds and wasn’t on China’s team for Rio. He came back for bronze at 2017 Worlds and silver at the 2018 World Cup before an ankle injury last winter.
“It is hard to win the gold medal after such a long term of difficulty in my life,” he said.
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