By Joshua Schneyer
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – China’s Lin Yue and Chen Aisen won gold in men’s 10 meter synchronized diving at the Rio Games on Monday, keeping alive the country’s goal of a clean sweep in all eight events.
The world champion Chinese duo were the favorites to win, but it was the first time they have dived together at an Olympics.
Steele Johnson and David Boudia of the United States took the silver medal. Britain’s Thomas Daley and Daniel Goodfellow won bronze, edging out a German duo on their last dive.
Across six dives, China scored highest in every dive but one.
“I won’t say it was perfect, but we really did our best today,” said Lin, 25, who also won a gold medal in the 10 meter synchronized event at the 2008 Beijing Games with another partner, Huo Liang.
With Monday’s performance, Lin became the first diver to win repeat Olympic gold medals in the event.
The duo won by a wide margin, earning a final score of 496.98. The U.S. team ended with 457.11 points.
Lin and Chen, who have picked up various world titles together, received several perfect 10s from judges on their fifth dive, a forward 4.5 somersault with a high degree of difficulty.
It was China’s fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal in the event. Chinese divers are targeting a sweep of all eight gold medals at the Rio diving competition, after winning six of out the total at the London 2012 Olympics.
Monday’s victory by Lin and Chen followed a gold medal performance by China’s women in the 3 meter synchronized event on Sunday.
Britain’s Daley, who got bronze, marveled at the Chinese team’s consistency.
“They are so technically efficient in what they do, it is amazing to watch,” he said.
U.S. diver Johnson broke into tears after he and Boudia nailed their final dive to win the silver.
Johnson, 20, overcame a horrendous diving injury at age 12, when he hit his head on the platform during a reverse 3 1/2 somersault dive, ripping his scalp open and narrowly avoiding death.
(Reporting by Joshua Schneyer; Editing by Ken Ferris and Bill Rigby)