Sho Sakai and Ken Terauchi failed to earn a medal in the men’s synchronized 3-meter springboard event on Wednesday, July 28 at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. After the first dive, the two were in second place, but they continued to drop throughout the competition. At one point they slipped to seventh, but they climbed into fifth place by the end of the competition.
China’s Zongyuan Wang and Siyi Xie, the gold-medal winners, started off the first round with a strong lead of more than four points. Even with a small miss in the fifth round, they continued to widen the gap over the rest of the field, placing 23.46 points ahead of the silver medalists, Andrew Capobianco and Michael Hixon of the United States. For Hixon, this was a repeat of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, where he nabbed silver in the same event with partner Sam Dorman.
The gap between Wang and Xie and Germany’s Patrick Hausding and Lars Rudiger, who earned the bronze medal, was 63.09 points. The third-place spot was up for grabs until the very end, with Germany beating Mexico’s Yahel Castillo Huerta and Juan Manuel Celaya Hernandez after a strong performance in the last round. Castillo Huerta and Celaya Hernandez finished fourth.
Great Britain’s Jack Laugher, who was the champion in Rio along with Chris Mears, wasn’t able to perform as strongly during this event. Laugher and partner Daniel Goodfellow placed seventh.
Evgenii Kuznetsov and Nikita Shleikher of the Russian Olympic Committee placed last. They were strong contenders for a medal, but their hopes were dashed when Shleikher slipped up during the last round. They received a score of zero for the round because Shleikher didn’t get enough height on his jump and hit the water before completing all of the required spins for their dive.
The event was 28-year-old Sakai’s second Olympics and 40-year-old Terauchi’s sixth, but neither have won medals in the past. Terauchi tested positive for COVID-19 in August 2020, experienced symptoms such as a loss of taste, and was treated at a hospital.
Sakai’s Tokyo Olympics experience ends with the event, but Terauchi continues on to compete in the 3-meter springboard event, which will take place starting August 2.
Author: Serena Landers