USA Diving News Chen wins on last di...

Chen wins on last dive to give China its 7th gold

Aug. 21, 2008, 10 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 one event remaining at the Beijing Olympics.

Chen totaled 447.70 points after hitting a backward 2 1/2 somersault with 1 1/2 twists with the title on the line.

Emilie Heymans of Canada, who led by 7.15 points going into Chen's last dive, earned the silver with 437.05. Chen's teammate, Wang Xin, took the bronze at 429.50.

American Laura Wilkinson, the 2000 Olympic champion, finished ninth in her final competition before retiring.

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.

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

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 Canadian shook her head before they flashed, as though she knew the Chinese had been too good.

Wilkinson did the toughest dive of anyone in the five-round final, a backward 3½ somersault from the pike position with a 3.6 degree of difficulty. The gutsy move backfired when she under-rotated, her legs nearly bent as she entered the water. Wilkinson received 43.20 points, dropping her from sixth to 11th.