OLYMPICS – Britain win first diving gold
Jack Laugher and Chris Mears won Great Britain’s first Olympic diving gold medal with victory in the men’s synchronised 3m springboard in Rio Wednesday.
The pair produced a sparkling display to add the Olympic title to their Commonwealth and European crowns.
The Britons scored a total of 454.32 to end China’s hopes of a clean sweep of diving golds at the Games.
Qin Kai and Cao Yuan had to settle for bronze (443.70) behind US pair Sam Dorman and Mike Hixon (450.21).
It was the first diving event in Rio where China have failed to win gold.
The Chinese have dominated the sport for decades, having topped the medal table for seven successive Olympic Games and eight World Championships.
But their ambitions of winning all eight events in Brazil, after taking the first three, were ruined by the British pair.
Laugher, 21, and Mears, who live and train together in Leeds, broke down in tears inside the Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre when their victory was confirmed by Qin and Cao’s faltering final dive.
The pair led the standings from the end of round three, showing remarkable composure to continue setting the pace and then execute a brilliant final dive under pressure.
Britain had only ever won eight previous Olympic medals – all silver and bronze.
For Mears, winning an Olympic title is a particularly poignant moment – having battled back from near-death.
The 23-year-old from Reading was given a 5 per cent chance of survival in January 2009 after contracting the life-threatening Epstein Barr virus.
He collapsed with a ruptured spleen, losing five pints of blood, before eventually leaving hospital a month later after having his spleen removed.