USA Diving News Chen Ruolin makes Ch...

Chen Ruolin makes China 7-for-7 in diving golds

Aug. 21, 2008, 11:27 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) Chen Ruolin rallied on her last dive to earn four 10s, winning the gold medal in women's 10-meter platform on Thursday and making China 7-for-7 with only one event remaining at the Beijing Olympics.

The 15-year-old Chinese girl got out, bowed and cried after she had rallied on her last - and toughest - dive to beat Canada's Emilie Heymans.

"When I entered the water, I had a feeling that I was going to win," Chen said through a translator.

Chen totaled 447.70 points off the high board. China had not won the women's event since 1996.

"That's why I was a bit nervous," she said.

Heymans, who led by 7.15 points going into Chen's last dive, earned the silver with 437.05.

Chen's 16-year-old teammate, Wang Xin, never got higher than third in the final and took the bronze at 429.50.

"Chen Ruolin has a better entry than me and she performed just as we expected," said Wang, the current platform world champion. "Emilie did better than her normal level. The distance between me and them is my control over my splash."

Chen earned four 10s and three 9.5s for her backward 2½ somersault with 1½ twists from the pike position - rated 3.4 degree of difficulty. Overall, Chen received seven 10s during the five-round final.

The mostly Chinese crowd inside the Water Cube roared when her scores lit up the board, realizing the home country had done it again.

"It didn't affect my performance because when I'm on the platform, I'm focused on the event itself," Chen said. "I cannot be affected by the audience."

Chen cried and received numerous hugs on the deck. Alexandre Despatie of Canada, silver medalist on men's 3-meter springboard, who congratulated the 1.36-meter (4-foot-6), 33-kilogram (66-pound) sprite who began diving at age 4.

She said she doesn't expect being Olympic champion will change her life.

"Even though I got the gold medal, I have some very hard training to do," Chen said. "I have to forget about the gold medal. If not, I won't have improvement in the future."

Heymans was consistently good throughout the final, with none of her dives ranking worse than third. She took the lead on her fourth and toughest dive - a reverse 3½ somersault - that earned 95.20 points. Chen, diving last, scored 89.10 points and found herself trailing for the first time all night.

Heymans waited anxiously for Chen's scores to be posted. The 26-year-old Canadian shook her head before they flashed, as though she knew the Chinese had been too brilliant.

"I know they have really good divers and they've been doing really well," she said. "They were able to do even better than I did."

Four years ago in Athens, Heymans had the gold in her grasp, but she made a costly mistake on her final dive. About 1 meter above the water, she kicked out of her third somersault too late and landed on her back, finishing fourth.

This time, Heymans had no control over the result.

"Athens was a long time ago," she said. "I was just trying to stay focused on what I have to do with that dive. I finished the competition real well."

She earned her first individual Olympic medal, having finished fifth at the 2000 Sydney Games. Heymans has silver and bronze medals from synchronized platform in the previous two Olympics. She and her partner weren't selected by Canadian officials to compete in synchro here.

"I think we could have medaled in that one, too," she said. "I could have gone home with two medals instead of one."