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China takes gold and silver in women's individual 3m springboard

Shi Tingmao He Zi Tania Cagnotto Women's 3m Podium
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China takes gold and silver in women's individual 3m springboard

The competition got quite a bit stiffer Sunday in the women's individual 3m springboard final with medals on the line

The first individual diving medals of the 2016 Rio Olympics were captured on Sunday afternoon and both gold and silver went to China.

Shi Tingmao, the favorite entering the event, put together a dominant program with high elevation off the board, clean lines through the air, and ripped entries on every attempt, totaling 406.05 points for the gold medal. 

Countrywoman He Zi comfortably took silver with 387.90 points.

Behind the two Chinese divers, Canada's Jennifer Abel and Italy's Tania Canotto went back and forth for third with the Italian emerging at the end to secure the bronze medal.

Cagnotto, who also took silver in the synchronized 3m event, trailed Abel by 6.45 points going into the final dive. But she closed her list with a massive reverse 2.5 pike for a score of 81.00 and a total of 372.80 to overcome Abel and win her second medal of the Rio Games. Cagnotto was all smiles after her final score posted and gave a big hug to her coach and father Giorgio Cagnotto -- a four-time Olympic diving medalist in his own right.

Abel finished in fourth place in both the synchronized and individual 3m events, leaving her without a medal in the 2016 Games despite a strong showing.

USA's Abby Johnston placed sixth in the preliminary on Friday and fifth in the semifinal on Saturday, but a low score on her third dive on Sunday stuck her with 302.85 total points and a last place finish in the final.

"I wasn’t nervous on any of them, so I kind of approached each one the way I normally do," Johnston said afterward. "Sometimes you miss and sometimes you hit. Bad dives happen to good people. I felt like I had a really strong top on everything and gave myself the best chance, but I wasn’t where I wanted to be on the bottoms of my dives. I’m really proud of how I performed and how I carried myself throughout the Games.

"I start school nine days from now and will be doing my (medical school) rotations and planning a wedding. I have a lot to look forward to and am happy to close this chapter of my life."

Johnston will retire with a silver medal having competed in two diving events over two Olympic Games.

Shi, 24, made a clean sweep of her 2016 Olympic events, taking gold in both the synchronized 3m with partner Wu Minxia last Sunday and taking gold in the this Sunday's individual event exactly one week later.

Wu Minxia makes history as China wins gold in women's synchronized 3m springboard

Wu Minxia and Shi Tingmao earned China the first diving gold medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics Sunday afternoon

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It was quite a day for silver-medalist He, who said yes to a marriage proposal from fellow Chinese diver Qin Kai immediately following the medal ceremony.

Chinese diver He Zi wins silver in 3m, gold in love with marriage proposal

Winning a silver medal wasn't the top highlight of Sunday, Aug. 14 for Chinese diver He Zi

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Grace Reid placed eighth with 318.60 points, marking Great Britain's best finish in the event since 1960.

The following divers advanced to Sunday's 3pm final but failed to medal: Jennifer Abel (CAN), Maddison Keeney (AUS), Esther Qin (AUS), Pamela Ware (CAN), Grace Reid (GBR), Nora Subschinski (GER), Yan Yee Ng (MAS), Olena Fedorova (URK), Abby Johnston (USA).

China maintained its 28-year streak of dominance in the women's individual 3m springboard event, which it has won at every Olympics since 1988 -- eight straight victories.

Abby Johnston's list

1. Back 2.5 pike -- 3.0 -- 67.50
2. Reverse 2.5 pike -- 3.0 -- 60.00
3. Forward 3.5 pike -- 3.1 -- 41.85
4. Inward 2.5 pike -- 3.0 -- 67.50
5. Forward 2.5 pike 1 twist -- 3.0 -- 66.00
Total score: 302.85

USA Diving media services contributed to this report

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