The markers on the Tokyo Aquatic Center screen could well be mistaken for a computer code lesson: 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10. In a way, it was.
Chinese divers are hardwired to seek perfection from an early age. It was just what he did this Thursday Hongchan Quan, 14, with two of his five dives during the dominant display that earned him gold on the 10-meter platform at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The entrance to the water of Quan Hongchan. Photo REUTERS / Marko Djurica
All seven judges gave Quan perfect tens on his second and fourth dives of the five-round competition.
He first reached perfection with a jump three and a half turns inward, and then with a back handstand with two turns and a half turn. On your last dive, two and a half laps and a turn and a half back in position b, Quan received two 9.5’s that were discarded, so he completed another perfect jump.
With the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, in the gallery of the Aquatic Center, Quan finished with 466.20 points and a comfortable lead. His compatriot Yuxi Chen, barely 15 years old, champion in the 2019 world championships and gold in these Games in the synchronized with her partner Zhang Jiaqi, she took silver with a score of 425.40.
Perfect jumps from China’s Quan Hongchan in Tokyo. Photo Oli SCARFF / AFP
Quan, the youngest member of the Chinese delegation in Tokyo, was on another level and dedicated the victory to his mother, who is ill. “I want to earn enough money to support it”, he confessed through an interpreter. And he remarked that to achieve those dives, he listens to his coach “very carefully” and follows “his instructions very carefully.”
“It has been a slow process. I have been patient in my training. I don’t know what to say, I’m a bit speechless. I took it step by step, one movement after another, and continued my training, “added who in his career already has the title of a National Championship of springboard jumping from the 10-meter platform in October 2020.
Better than the best
For its part, although he is only 18 months older, Chen acknowledged that his partner exceeds the level that she was at his age. “I would like to congratulate her, I feel that she is actually even better than I was two years ago in terms of her touch, details and technique,” he declared.
In addition, the medalist demystified that China has a secret to master this discipline. “We don’t really have a lot of great training methods. It’s actually about dive after dive, and Practice makes a master. The more you practice, the more you want, “he remarked.
1-2 Chinese with Chen (silver) and Quan (gold). Photo EFE / EPA / PATRICK B. KRAEMER
It is important to remember that the only diving event in which China did not rise to the top of the podium in Tokyo was in the male synchronized from platform, where the British Tom Daley and Matty Lee prevailed.
Although third place on the podium was taken by an Australian, Melissa Wu also has Chinese heritage. “I am half chinese“said who obtained a score of 371.40.
“I grew up with a lot of Chinese culture and I was very close to my grandparents growing up, and in fact my grandmother passed away a few months ago. She was very close to me and I think this medal is very important to me because she couldn’t see me win it and I think that that would have been very important to her, “said the 29-year-old athlete who lived in Tokyo for her fourth Olympic Games and had already achieved silver on a synchronized platform with Briony Cole in Beijing 2008.