TOKYO – Chinese teenager Quan Hongchan (picture) produced three perfect-10 dives in a dazzling display to win the Olympic women’s 10m platform gold medal on Thursday.
Quan, at 14 years old the youngest Chinese athlete in Tokyo, beat teammate Chen Yuxi into second with a remarkable overall score of 466.20 points.
But Quan insisted that she should not be considered a prodigy, as she does not enjoy the same success at school.
“I don’t think I’m a prodigy. I’m not very bright,” she said.
“I don’t do well in my studies. You ask me all these questions and there’s only a blank in my mind.”
The 15-year-old Chen, the reigning world champion who had already won gold in the 10m synchronised event, finished 39.80 points adrift. Australia’s Melissa Wu was a distant third with 371.40 points.
Quan was awarded perfect-10 scores from all seven judges for her second and fourth dives. For her fifth effort, six judges gave her 10 and one 9.5, but that was still enough for a maximum mark of 96.00 points.
Competing outside China for the first time did not faze Quan, although she says she could have competition from her younger sister for a place at the 2024 Paris Games.
“I’ll tell her (his sister) to continue working hard,” added Quan. “I think I have to train well these few years before thinking about that (Paris 2024).”
China have now won six of the seven diving events to be completed so far in Tokyo after taking seven of eight golds in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.
Qualifying for the final competition, the men’s 10m platform, gets under way on Friday.
Britain’s Tom Daley will be hoping to spoil the Chinese party again after he won 10m synchronised gold alongside partner Matty Lee last week.