Chris Mears and Jack Laugher grab Olympic gold for Great Britain in 3m synchro

Published: Wednesday 10th August 2016 by The News Editor

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Chris Mears and Jack Laugher won Olympic gold in the men’s synchronised three-metres springboard final in Rio on Wednesday.

Proving the British diving team is about more than one man, the City of Leeds pair joined Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow as medallists.

Mears and Laugher won World Championships bronze in 2015, Commonwealth gold in 2014 and European gold in May.

And now they are Olympic champions after finishing ahead of the United States’ Sam Dorman and Mike Hixon in second and China’s Cao Yuan and Qin Kai in bronze.

Britain’s first-ever Olympic diving gold was a particularly emotional victory for Mears, the 23-year-old from Reading who had life-saving surgery to remove a spleen ruptured while diving in 2009.

Mears was fifth alongside Nick Robinson-Baker at London 2012, while Laugher finished a lowly 27th in the individual event four years ago.

Laugher, the 21-year-old from Huddersfield, has a good medal opportunity when the individual competition rolls around in Brazil on Monday, too.

China had won all three of the prior events at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre, where the diving pool was still green and the water polo pool appeared to be growing greener as well.

Daley and Goodfellow took bronze in the 10m synchronised platform event in a new partnership, but Mears and Laugher have pedigree together.

The British pair, who share a home in Leeds, led at the halfway point of the competition, which took place in typically British conditions. It was cold and raining.

And they enhanced their advantage by scoring 85.68 for their inward 3 ½ somersaults with tuck.

A score of 86.58 for their forward 2 ½ somersault 3 twists – the most difficult dive in their repertoire – saw the Britons take an advantage of 2.64 into the final round.

With the USA nine points adrift in third, it appeared to be a two-way battle for gold, coming down to the final dive.

There was a delay as Mexico wanted a re-dive, but were denied, after claiming to be distracted by additional floodlights coming on.

The American duo then responded to score 98.04 with their final dive, reaching 450.21 and piling the pressure on Britain in a tense podium battle.

Mears and Laugher kept their composure. Their forward 4 ½ somersault with tuck was well executed.

It scored 91.20 to take them to a total of 454.32 and left China needing better than 93.84 to win.

The Chinese pair were the penultimate divers to go, of eight pairs, and Laugher and Mears were powerless; they could only watch.

But China faltered, scoring 83.22, which sparked jubilant celebrations among the British contingent.

Published: Wednesday 10th August 2016 by The News Editor

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