China makes it 4-for-4 at the diving pool

Aug. 13, 2008, 1:13 p.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) China completed its monopoly of the synchronized diving events with a dominating victory in men's 3-meter springboard Wednesday, putting the host nation on course for a golden sweep at the Beijing games.

Wang Feng and Qin Kai had the highest-scoring dive in each of the six rounds, piling up a total of 469.08 points. When they sliced through the water one last time, their perfectly aligned bodies causing barely a ripple, the big crowd roared.

Knowing gold was assured, Wang and Qin climbed from the pool and hugged each other.

"We performed very well," Wang said. "We've coordinated for more than 20 months. That's all for this event, so we should be focused and concentrate very well. This gold is so important to my life."

Dmitry Sautin, 34 and competing in his fifth Olympics, added an eighth medal to his collection, teaming with 18-year-old Yuriy Kunakov to take silver for Russia with a mark of 421.98 - a staggering 47.10 points behind the Chinese.

Still, it was worth coming back for. Sautin had planned to retire after the Athens Games, sitting out a full year recovering from a dislocated shoulder, but he just couldn't get diving out of his blood.

"I couldn't find myself any other place," he said through a translator.

After the final dive, Sautin scooped up his young partner and bounced up and down. In this event four years ago, the veteran struck the board on one of his attempts and wound up seventh with Aleksandr Dobroskok. Teamed with a new partner since 2006, Sautin made it back to the medal podium, giving him two golds, two silvers and four bronzes in his long career.

He does plan to retire for good after Beijing.

"Four more years is a lot of jumping," Sautin said. "Ten years ago, I could get up and nothing was sore. I felt strong. I felt I could defeat the Chinese. Now, it's getting more and more complicated. So this will be my last Olympic Games."

Illya Kvasha and Oleksiy Prygorov of Ukraine claimed the bronze at 415.05 in what was essentially a race for second place.

The Chinese were in a league of their own right from the start, receiving three perfect 10s on their first dive. They never received a mark lower than 8.0.

The 29-year-old Wang, competing only in synchro at these games, redeemed himself for a fourth-place showing on the individual 3-meter in 2004.

"We have depth in our team," Wang said. "We have a lot of different athletes from a lot of different provinces. Of course, we're very rigorous in our training. That is why we achieve these results."

The Americans faltered again, putting themselves very much in danger of a second straight medal shutout in a sport they once dominated.

Chris Colwill and Jevon Tarantino were third going to the final round. But Tarantino botched his entry, receiving marks of 4.0 and 5.0 for execution, and the U.S. slipped to fourth at 410.73.

Tarantino's coach, Dave Burgering, buried his head in his hands when he saw the big splash.

"We did everything we could to do the dive great and stay relaxed and I just went a little short of vertical, kicked a little early, wanting it too much," Tarantino said. "This hurts really bad right now, being so close."

Colwill still has another shot in the individual springboard. Tarantino's Olympics are over.

Now it's on to the four individual events, starting Saturday after a one-day break. The Chinese, who won six of eight golds in Athens, are hoping to take them all at their home pool.

The Americans failed to win a medal of any color at Athens, the first time that had happened in a non-boycotted Olympics since 1912.