China wins mixed 3-meter springboard diving at worlds
KAZAN, Russia (AP) David Boudia hoped some long-distance encouragement from his family could help him add a world championship title to his surprising Olympic diving victory from 2012.
Even with their help, though, the American couldn't quite match the strong finish by Qiu Bo as the Chinese diver earned his fourth world title on Sunday.
While Boudia led after two dives from the 10-meter platform, Qiu went in front with his third effort before going on to win with 587.00 points.
Between his dives, Boudia was in touch electronically with his relatives - his way of handling being away from wife Sonnie and daughter Dakoda.
''I was watching my phone actually during the event,'' he said. ''My family has a group text and texts were flooding in throughout the event.''
''I miss them a lot,'' he added. ''It's so hard going on these trips with a wife and a child but we know that this is my work and we have a job to do.''
Qiu, who lost out to Boudia at the 2012 Olympics, finished with the top-scoring dive of the competition, a 107.30-point pike with four-and-a-half somersaults. That left Boudia far behind on a 560.20 total for silver.
''Today was a great final and the atmosphere for the final was crazy, very good,'' Qiu said.
His win was China's 10th gold medal of the championships, matching the championship record the Chinese team set in 2011. With wins in nine of the 10 Olympic disciplines as diving ended Sunday, China also laid down a marker for next year's Rio de Janeiro Games.
Britain took bronze as Tom Daley, winner of the event in 2009, scored 537.95 for third place.
Down in ninth after two dives, Daley surged back to snatch third from Mexico's Ivan Garcia on the final dive.
''Anything can happen in sport, and that's part of the beauty of it,'' Daley said.
Ahead of his last dive, ''I was standing at the end of the board and just thinking: `I'm going to give it everything I've got and at the end of the day, if all goes wrong, there's always cheesecake.'''
All 12 finalists earned their countries places at next year's Olympics.
Earlier in the day, China dominated the first mixed three-meter synchronized springboard diving event to be held at the world championships.
The experienced Wang Han and her 17-year-old partner Yang Hao scored 339.90 points, posting the best-scoring dives in three of the five rounds as each of their rivals made mistakes.
Second place at the Aquatics Palace went to the Canadian duo of Jennifer Abel and Francois Imbeau-Dulac, who started slowly but snatched silver with an 80.58 final dive - the highest score of the competition - for a total of 317.01.
That was just enough to beat Italy's 17-time European champion Tania Cagnotto and her partner Maicol Verzotto on 315.30.
''It was a weird day for us. The first two dives didn't go as well as we wanted,'' Imbeau-Dulac said. ''We just wanted to finish on a great score.''
Mixed-gender diving events are a new addition to the world championships, with three on the program in Kazan. Synchronizing men's and women's jumps is tricky, said Cagnotto.
''It's not easy to find a partner that jumps like you because the men jump higher than the women,'' she said. ''It's a nice event, which can go really well in the future.''
There are two paths to victory in mixed springboard diving, according to Cagnotto. Either a duo can include a male diver more used to the 10-meter platform and with a less powerful takeoff than most springboard divers, or include a ''really, really strong'' woman.
Asked about mixed diving's potential to join the Olympic program, Cagnotto said: ''Why not? Yes, it could be.''