On Sunday, July 29, 2012, NBC aired the women’s 3M Springboard Final, synchronized swimming competition at 7 p.m. EST. In the anticipated event, China was going for their third gold in this event and achieved this goal with a final score of 346.20.
The Chinese duo consisted of Zi HE and Minxia WU. They were the crowd’s favorites, as they previously had swept all 8 medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The United States team that included Kelci Bryant and Abigail Johnston took the podium with the silver medal, as Jennifer Abel and Emilie Heymans from Canada took home the bronze medal. The Americans hoped to metal for the first time since Sydney.
The judging system consisted of ruling on approach coordination and well as assessing all phases of the dive, including the level of synchronization, whereas the scores would be give from 0 to 10, the highest. The athletes could choose any dive in the 5 rounds, as long as they don’t repeat the same move twice
In the first round, the athletes were looking for better than 50 points score. After the first round, China led the pack, with Canada in second, followed by United States and Italy in fourth.
The 2nd round made things more interesting with unique dives in this twisting group. The Chinese competitors mirrored each other in unison, setting the standard.
Bryant and Johnston dove an impressive reverse dive in complete unison, giving them a score 52.20 in this round.
Things began to not go so smoothly for Canadian divers, Abel and Heymans, as their forward dive showed how the pair was out of time with each other. However, they scored a 47. China dominated this round with the U.S.A. still at second place.
During the third round, the level of difficulty was raised to 3.0. More spinning and twisting would be made since the bar had been raised. The Chinese athletes HE and WU impressed judges and spectators alike with their inward 2 12 somersault. The women needed a score of 75 or higher and made that goal at ease with a score of 79 points.
The American women showed off their forward 2 12 somersault and 1 twist, a critical dive for them. They exuded great control on his dive with amazing angles that perfectly mimicked each other. China scored an overall 186 points in this round, the United States 179 points.
In round 4, China scored a 80.10, the highest scoring dive thus far in the competition. The Americans showed harmony with their inward 2 12 somersault, with a scoring of 70.20. Viewers got the chance to see the more human side of these athletes as they shared with viewers that they share a unique bond with a common interest in collecting rubber ducks. They showed off their mascot as the team’s “synchronized pet”.
China led in first place in this round, with the U.S. in second, Canada in third.
The final round showed off the talent of Italian competitors Tania Cagnotto and Francesca Dallape’ with the twosome’s inward 2 12 somersault. The sports commentary called dive a nice last round dive although it “may not be enough”. They scored a 71.10.
China followed with their back 2 12 somersault and they surely did not miss a dive.
It would be the same dive the Americans would do after them. Commentary exclaimed that, “They are magnificent,” and they most certainly were. The favorites scored a 80.1, making them gold medalists in this event.
An anxious moment followed for the parents and coaches of the Americans, as they stepped up to dive, the most import dive of their lives. They would need 65 points, which would mean a 7 or above individual score to make podium ahead of Italians. They received a 72.00, assuring them a medal. With only the Canadians left, they hoped to hang on to the silver.
Abel and Heymans was not in sync during their somersault and their twist, as well as landing in different places in the pool. They put up a tough fight with a score of 68.40, winning bronze.
The final scores were China-346.20, United States-321.90, Canada- 316.80.