despatie

Canada's Alexandre Despatie performs during the men's 3-metre springboard final on Thursday in Rome. ((Michael Sohn/Associated Press))

Canada's Alexandre Despatie won a bronze medal in men's three-metre springboard diving on Thursday at the world aquatics championships in Rome.

The Laval, Que., native was sitting in the silver-medal position with one dive to go but dropped to third after scoring an 8 and a pair of 7.5s on his final dive.

Olympic champion He Chong of China won gold and American Troy Dumais captured silver.

Reuben Ross of Regina was 11th. This marks the 23-year-old's first world championship competition.

Despatie, 24, was leading the field heading into the final after finishing first in the semifinals a day earlier.

"To be top three in the world is always something positive," said Despatie. "I would like to have done better. I know I can do better. But I've always said this is a sport of the day. Today, I did not bring out my best diving. But it was still good enough for top three."

The three-time world champion in one-metre, three-metre and 10-metre platform was looking for a fourth title and a second medal at this year's competition.

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Despatie's medal haul

  • 2009: World bronze (3 m, 3-m synchro).
  • 2008: Olympic silver (3 m).
  • 2007: World silver (3 m, 3-m synchro).
  • 2005: World gold (1 m, 3 m).
  • 2004: Olympic silver (3 m).
  • 2003: World gold (10 m).
  • 2001: World silver (10 m).

Despatie and Ross won Canada's first medal of the world championships on Saturday, a bronze medal in the men's three-metre synchro springboard competition.  

7th after opening dive

But Despatie didn't get off to a good start on Thursday, opening with a dive that put him in seventh place overall.  

He recovered quickly, working his way into fourth place on his second dive, and moving into the bronze medal position by his fourth.

The two-time Olympic silver medallist scored two 8.5s and a 9 on his second-last dive to move into second heading into the sixth and final dive of the competition.

Despatie was the final diver of the day, and prepared for his last dive with Chong and Dumais sitting in the No. 1 and 2 positions ahead of him. 

That's how it would finish, with Chong scoring a total 505.20 points for first, Dumais at 498.40 and Despatie at 490.30.

"On the last dive, I misjudged my entry and that affected my marks," Despatie said. "I went very high on the takeoff. I went off my line a bit. It's a dive that I tend to do better."

Considering the Canadian missed valuable training this year while rehabbing a back injury, he was pleased with his showing at the world championships.

"I was very consistent with no major mistakes," Despatie said. "These worlds were very positive for me. I had a tough year with the back injury and to come here and win two bronze is unbelievable."

Chong's final dive secures gold

The gold medal was clinched for Chong on his final dive, a difficult forward 2½ somersault with three twists in pike position.

The 22-year-old received scores ranging from 7.0 to 8.0, and while both Dumais and Despatie received better marks, his manoeuvre had a 3.8-degree difficulty, giving him enough points to clinch the No. 1 spot.

Neither Dumais nor Despatie had a dive with a degree of difficulty above 3.5.

"I am satisfied, even though I made a few mistakes and some of my movements were not perfect. I felt a bit nervous," Chong said. "I think I performed average. The level of difficulty of my dives was quite high. I did not have a particularly bad dive. I just think I could have done better in each one of them."

Dumais also felt his performance fell short of his best.

"Silver is great, but I know I can do better," the American said.

Dumais's silver is his second at this year's world championships, and his fourth overall. Despatie has now won eight world championship medals.

With files from The Associated Press