American diver David Boudia has pulled off the most shocking gold medal of the London 2012 Summer Olympics.
Scoring 568.65 points in the final round of dives in the men's 10-meter platform, Boudia stole the gold medal from China's Qiu Bo by 1.8 points. It was the U.S. men's first gold medal in the event since Greg Louganis in 1988 and also the first gold for any male American diver since 1992 (Mark Lenzi, three-meter springboard).
What makes this feat so unbelievable is that Boudia was the last-place qualifier out of the preliminary rounds, with a score of 439.15 points. So he barely managed to make the semifinals, unlike Qiu, who had accumulated 563.70 points and was more than 100 ahead of Boudia.
Going into Saturday's action and the semifinals, Boudia, fortunately, got a fresh start and a clean slate, as the points and standings aren't carried over. He did, however, need to get back on track with his dives, otherwise it would mean another failure to win gold for Team USA's male divers.
China had already won six gold medals through seven diving events (men's and women's combined), and Qiu was their plan for No. 7.
Well, Boudia performed to an insane level during the semifinals and jumped up to third place with a score of 531.15. Still, no one had cracked into the top two after the prelims and semis, which belonged to Qiu and fellow countryman Lin Yue.
The good news was that Boudia entered the final with a supreme amount of confidence.
And it was emphatically evident from the beginning.
The American scored 97.2 on his first dive and then 99.90 on his second. Dancing with the potential for gold after three rounds, Boudia scored over 90 on the next two dives and then had a grand finale that would make any fireworks show jealous.
His final dive, which scored 102.60 points, was the single best dive of any dive from anyone in the final, and it tied for the best overall dive of the entire men's 10-meter-platform event. Boudia's dive average was at least nine on five of his six attempts in the final, and he received 9.5 for the sixth journey down to the water.
It is not only Boudia's gold medal that is impressive; it's how the man did it.
Against a powerhouse in China that to this point basically had a gold-medal monopoly on the diving competition and then going from worst to first amongst the qualifiers—you could not have written a better script.
Call up Hollywood, because this is one of the most surreal gold medals in Olympic history.
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