TOKYO (Reuters) -Britain’s 27-year-old Tom Daley won the Olympic gold medal he has long dreamed of at his fourth Games on Monday, in a stunning victory in the men’s 10 metre synchronised platform diving with team mate Matty Lee, ending China’s goal of sweeping all eight diving golds on offer.
Daley and Lee performed a series of near-perfect dives at the fan-free Tokyo Aquatics Centre, breaking the dominance of China, who have topped the podium at the last four Games.
“It’s kind of unbelievable, I dreamt – as has Matty – since I started diving 20 years ago, for this moment of becoming an Olympic champion,” Daley, who won bronze in London and Rio, told reporters.
“Laying in bed, every day, I would visualize my dive over and over and over and over again, with no mistakes, and you know, it played out exactly how we had visualized it,” he added.
Costly errors for China’s Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen in their fourth dive saw them cede the lead to the British pair, and despite a spotless final dive worth just over 100 points they were unable to catch Daley and Lee, finishing one point behind.
“We had some mistakes, which led us to have some low points. So this is disappointing, but we have to face it,” Cao, who won the title in the event at the 2012 London Olympic Games, said afterwards.
Aleksandr Bondar and Viktor Minibaev of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) took bronze.
The competition resumes on Tuesday with the Women’s Synchronised 10 metre platform final.
(Reporting by Yuki Nitta and Amy Tennery; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Hugh Lawson)