While China should start practicing for the Rio 2016 Olympics, everyone else can rest a little easier. Bronze-medalist diver Tom Daley says China won’t be dominant in diving in the next Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
At the Beijing games in 2008, China did a clean sweep in diving (save for one lost to Australia), winning gold in each event. For the 2012 London Olympics, the Chinese were poised to repeat that amazing feat, but things didn’t turn out as planned. In a surprising twist, American diver David Boudia bested Chinese favorite Qiu Bo and took home the gold medal in the six-dive final. While Bo settled for silver, Daley won his first Olympic medal with third place. Although the Chinese team still went home with 6 out of 8 gold medals in diving, this lost means that the Chinese aren’t the unbeatable machines they once were.
After the upset, Daley said, “The Chinese domination is slowly coming to an end. Qiu Bo this year has been unstoppable and that's why it was such a surprise for him not to win … With myself and David [Boudia] challenging him that is great for the sport.”
The 18-year-old representing Team Britain makes a valid point; the Chinese have been dominate for so long that they may be losing their edge. Boudia wasn't favored to medal, let alone win gold. Daley also garnered respectable numbers with his dives and with youth on his side, he should be at his peak performance level by 2016.
That said, the Chinese are not ready –– or willing –– to share the spotlight for this sport. Once Bo realized that he lost the gold medal to Boudia, he rested his head in “anguish” against a wall, clearly disappointed in his final score of 566.85, just two points shy of Boudia’s score. Conversely, Boudia was in shock with his win, becoming the first American to win gold in diving since the Sydney games in 2000.
Now that the London 2012 games have come to a close, most athletes are returning home to warm welcomes by their proud nation. However, there is a big possibility that for Chinese divers and other athletes like Bo, training for 2016 is around the corner. China will never stop being a powerhouse in Olympic diving, but if Daley’s prediction is right, the fierce competition at Rio will make for even more exciting game to watch.