USA Diving News Wilkinson concludes ...

Wilkinson concludes her career with ninth-place finish on 10-meter

Aug. 21, 2008, 1:32 p.m. (ET)

BEIJING - Laura Wilkinson (Spring, Texas) won't retire with another Olympic medal, but she'll have a lasting memory of her final dive as an Olympian.

Wilkinson scored 311.80 points to finish ninth in the women's platform finals Thursday night in the last competition of her career.

As she took to the platform for her last dive, she looked down in the stands and saw her teammates. It was an emotional moment for the 2000 Olympic champion.

"Before my last dive, my team gave me a standing ovation, and I almost lost it," Wilkinson said.

After that, she did her back 2 ½ somersaults with a 1 ½ twists for one last time, earning scores of mostly 8.5s for a total of 86.70 points, her best dive of the night. The dive vaulted her from 11th to ninth place in the final standings, rebounding from missed dives in the second and third rounds.

"It wasn't the meet of my dreams and wasn't the ending I wanted, but I wouldn't trade (these last four years) for anything," said Wilkinson, whose fifth-place finish in Athens four years ago was a key factor in her decision to try for one more Olympics.

"She left it all in the pool. She's a champion," her coach, Kenny Armstrong, said.

Meanwhile, Canada's Emilie Heymans pushed China to the limit in the race for gold, but Chen Ruolin finished on top with 447.40 points to give China its seventh gold in seven events. Heymans won the silver with 437.05 points, and China's Wang Xin was third at 429.00. Chen led the first three rounds, but Heymans overtook her slightly after four rounds. Heymans scored 88 points on her last dive to put the pressure on Chen, but she responded with four 10s and three 9.5s to take the gold.

Olympic diving competition continues with David Boudia (Noblesville, Ind.) and Thomas Finchum (Indianapolis, Ind.) in the men's 10-meter preliminaries at 7 p.m. Friday.

- USA Diving -

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