Fifty perfect scores of “10” were awarded on the last day of the World Aquatics Diving World Cup in Montreal – including 19 by YANG Hao on the men’s 10m platform and 12 by QUAN Hongchan on the women’s tower. China leaves Canada with all nine gold medals – most of them won by giant margins.
As expected China won the five finals contested on Sunday, and it wasn’t even close.
Huge Winning Margins
QUAN Hongchan and CHAN Yuxi went 1-2 in women’s 10m (with 21 perfect scores), leaving the bronze medalist more than 100 points behind QUAN.
WANG Zongyuan decimated the men’s 3m field by more than 91 points.
YANG Hao prevailed by nearly 67 points in an eye-popping men’s 10m final that featured 26 perfect scores (19 by YANG).
CHEN Yiwen seized gold in women’s 3m by nearly 40 points.
And collectively, China won the team event by 34 points (with three more 10s).
The most exciting events were the 10m finals. The men’s event was off the charts, as China’s YANG Hao, 25, scored perfect 10s from all seven judges on two (of his six) dives – and five more 10s during the contest for a total of 19 “tens.” The other medalists also showed glimmers of perfection. The 16-year-old runner-up Rikuto TAMAI of Japan earned two 10s, and Canadian bronze medalist Nathan ZSOMBOR-MURRAY, 20, got five perfect 10s of his own. All three broke the 500-point barrier to electrify the sold-out arena.
The women’s 10m final was also intense. It featured a China vs. China battle royale that flaunted 21 perfect scores between Olympic champion QUAN Hongchan (who earned 12 of them) and the world champion CHEN Yuxi who placed second with nine.
For a closer look Sunday’s finals and reactions from the medalists, read on.
World champion WANG Zongyuan, 21, tallied 556.75 points to win the men’s 3m final. He would have been on the podium even without his final dive, a forward 4½ (1 with a 3.8 degree of difficulty) that scored 102.60 points alone.
“I’m amazed and happy,” WANG said. “Before the competition, I didn’t expect such a good competition because my warm-up was not so good.” He attributed his consistency to his preparation in Beijing. “It is very systematic and I keep a steady training pace every day.”
Australia’s LI Shixin, took silver, 91.50 points behind WANG. And although LI’s last dive was not his best, he showed that, at 35, he could still throw a 3.9-degree-of-difficulty (forward 2½ with 3 twists pike) with whippersnappers 14-15 years his junior.
“Today, I’m happy with second,” LI said, explaining that back In Australia, he is not always training because he has a job and three daughters, age 7 and 5-year-old-twins. “With more experience before world championships, I can be even better.”
Germany’s Moritz WESEMANN took third, just as he had at the first World Cup stop in Xi’an, China, in April. “Very nice to have this same result,” he said. “I had 20 points more [here] than in the last competition in China which makes me feel very-very good and very comfortable to go to the European Championship and even to the world championships to qualify for a slot at the  Olympics.” The bronze was also an early birthday gift; WESEMANN turns 21 on Wednesday.
Also of note: Great Britain’s triple Olympic medallist Jack LAUGHER, 28, struggled and placed 6th despite being the runner-up to WANG in Xi’an in April.
Women’s 3m Springboard
With another gobsmackingly high total (404.70), world champion CHEN Yiwen of China won the women’s 3m springboard event ahead of Canada’s Pamela WARE (365.40 points) and third-place Sarah BACON of the US (357.85 points). All three women did the same final dive, but CHEN’s lead was only once threatened (in the first round when BACON matched her score for the identical dive, an inward 2½ pike).
“I’m happy and excited about it,” CHEN, 23, referring to her total score. “[It’s] a little bit of a surprise to me. I thought I would have got 390 or so, but I feel pretty good about the day. I think mentally I need to be stronger, with more confidence. I’m looking for better.”
BACON, 26, was also pleased with her result. “I wanted to come in here today, relax and have fun and see where I ended up,” she said. “I’m a type of diver who feeds off the energy, so if other people are hitting dives, it makes me dive better. I’m glad Pam dove really well. I think it pushed me to hit my dives.”
In a bit of an upset, the bronze medalist from the 2022 world championships, CHANG Yani of China, 21, finished 6.05 points off the podium in fourth place. Japan’s Sakaya MIKAMI placed fifth despite a solid forward 2½ with 2 twists – the hardest dive performed by anyone in the final (with a 3.4 degree of difficulty). MIKAMI, 22, had finished third in the first World Cup held last month.
Men’s 10m Platform
In a riveting men’s 10m showdown, YANG Hao, 25, infused the Montreal pool with an energy it probably hadn’t seen since it hosted the 1976 Olympics. Two of his six dives were absolutely perfect according to all seven judges, and if his last dive hadn’t been a relative miss, he could have easily surpassed 600 points. Instead, he won with 580.25 points via a flawless third round (reverse 3½ with a 3.4 DD) and perfect fifth round (forward 4½ with a 3.7DD).
Rikuto TAMAI – at just 16 years old – came out of fifth place to take silver with two perfect 10s of his own (which didn’t count because, in diving, the top two and bottom two scores per dive are discarded). Nathan ZSOMBOR-MURRAY, who is just 20, briefly held the lead in round two with a forward 4½ that earned four perfect scores, delighting the home crowd. This event clearly has a long future.
Afterwards, YANG said, “I’m very happy about the two [perfect] 10 dives, but I’m most concerned about my last dive because it was not as satisfying. The takeoff [needs work].”
TAMAI, the runner-up from Fukuoka, said, “I’m very tired because I have had World Cup in China, our nationals in Japan, [and now this]. Very busy. Next, the world championships are in my hometown.” Worth noting: TAMAI competed at the Tokyo Olympics at 14, and earned the 10m silver at the world championship silver last summer in Budapest at 15.
Another young superstar, 17-year-old Oleksii SEREDA of Ukraine, was in medal position on Sunday but botched his fourth and fifth dives to end up in a fourth-place tie with Australia’s Cassiel ROUSSEAU whose strong finish vaulted him out of a worrisome eighth place in the second round.
Women’s 10m Platform
The women’s 10m final featured an ever-intense battle between Chinese teenagers QUAN Hongchan, 16, and CHEN Yuxi, 17. QUAN won this time, with 12 perfect scores from the judges en route to a 458.20 total. But world champion CHEN put a ton of pressure on the reigning Olympic gold medalist, especially on the final dive (in which they both performed back 2½ with 1½ twist pike).
CHEN went first and scored five perfect 10s (of her 9 for the day) but QUAN’s lead was too large to overcome and even with a lesser score so CHEN failed to win back-to-back World Cup events. But they will surely meet again in a decisive third contest at the Super Final August 4-6, in Berlin.
“At the previous event, I got a silver and I wasn’t satisfied,” QUAN explained, referring to the Diving World Cup in Xi’an. “This time, I felt comfortable with the venue, with the pool, and the environment. The crowd’s cheering today gave me a feeling of power.”
CHEN, the runner-up, said, “I feel good but just had some technical mistakes.”
Britain’s Andrea SPENDOLINI SIRIEIX, 18, finished third with 357.80 points. “Today I feel terrible,” she admitted. “I didn’t sleep great. My throat felt really swollen. My nose – I couldn’t breathe properly in training. I couldn’t hear. I was very close to pulling out of the handstand [in the first round]. By the grace of God, I just kept going. It’s the most I pushed in a competition, ever. I’m exhausted, but I’m very happy with my result. When I’m feeling 100 percent, I know that I can compete even better.”
China added three more perfect 10s in the final event of the Montreal World Cup, capturing gold in the Mixed Team event. Canada took silver, and Australia the bronze.
“We are all basically exhausted,” said CHEN Yiwen, who contributed two of the six dives, “but this team event is not about ourselves.”
Parting Shot - Montreal's Moment of Zen