Rio Golden Favorites: The Chinese Men’s and Women’s Diving Teams

Qui Bo diver
Qiu Bo

There are 8 gold medals up for grabs in the diving competitions at the Rio Olympics: the 10-meter platform and 3-meter springboard for both men and women, as well as synchronized 10-meter platform and synchronized 3-meter springboard, for both men and women.

In the past three Olympics in London, Beijing and Athens, athletes from the People’s Republic of China have won four, seven and six of the possible eight at the respective Olympics, which is pretty darn good. The international organization overseeing swimming and diving, FINA, organized four international competitions in 2016 – the FINA Diving World Series. Of the 40 gold medals up for grabs in those four competitions, the Chinese took an outstanding 38 of them. That’s 95% of the gold medals in 2016. That’s dominance.

While defending Olympic champion of the 10-meter platform, David Boudia hopes to return America to Olympic diving glory with a rare Olympian gold-medal repeat. To do so he will likely have to beat Qiu Bo, the man he defeated in London, who will of course be very hungry for revenge. Qiu is the current world champion in the 10-meters, where he edged out Boudia, and in fact has won three straight world championships since 2011, something only American Greg Louganis has done.

But Qiu is just one of a mini army of divers from China who look to take gold in diving in Rio.

Wu Minxia
Wu Minxia

Wu Minxia recently was the 2015 world champion in synchronized 3-meter springboard, partnering with teammate Shi Tingmao to win gold. She is hoping to exceed her current medal haul of six since 2004 and become the most decorated female Olympic diver in history.

And after their victories in the 2015 world championships, the Chinese are also favored to win in the men’s synchronized 3-meter springboard, the men’s synchronized 10-meter platform, the 3-meter springboard, the women’s 3-meter springboard, as well as the women’s synchronized 1-meter platform.

In other words, except perhaps for the men’s 10-meter platform, it’s possible that the Chinese can take 7 of 8 golds at the Rio Games, in addition to silvers and bronzes along the way. As Tom Gompf, the American diver who took bronze in the 10-meter platform competition at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics told me, “The Chinese dominate. They will get the bulk of the medals. If you saw their program you’d understand why.”

There you have it. Expect to hear the Chinese national anthem around the diving pool…a lot.