Jennifer Abel misses Olympic diving podium in 3m springboard
World No. 3 places 4th, fellow Canadian Pamela Ware 7th
By Doug Harrison, CBC Sports
Jennifer Abel of Laval, Que., failed to follow up her 2015 Pan Am gold medal with an Olympic podium finish on Sunday, finishing fourth in the women's individual three-metre springboard in Rio.
She came out of the tuck a little loose in her midsection on the fifth and final dive and was unable to overtake Italy's Tania Cagnotto for third spot, collecting 72.95 points on the dive to fall short of her opponent by nearly six points overall (372.80-367.25).
"I'm very happy about my performance today," Abel said. "Yes, I was hoping for a medal, but I fought til the end and Tanya was very great."
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It was a 1-2 finish by Shi Tingmao and He Zi, making it eight straight Olympics since 1988 that China has won the event.
Tingmao tied with He in the first two dives, before the 24-year-old pushed ahead in her third dive to achieve 84 points, the highest score of the competition, and eventually scored a total of 406.05, 18.15 points ahead of He and 103.2 points more than the last-placed diver.
Cagnotto earned her first individual medal in five Olympic Games after winning silver earlier in these Games in the synchro 3m springboard, while Shi was first with partner Wu Minxia.
Canada's Pamela Ware finished with 323.15 points. The 23-year-old from Greenfield Park, Que., over anticipated her entry in the water on her final dive and was given two marks of 6.0 and one 5.5.
Meanwhile, Abel was challenged by Cagnotto from the start but moved ahead of the Italian on the fourth dive when the Canadian nailed a forward 2 1/2 somersault with two twists that had a 3.4-degree of difficulty.
A dive that showcases the 24-year-old's power from the springboard, Abel got beautiful height and had a solid finish, picking up two scores of 8.5 from the judges. Cagnotto picked up only 69.00 points on her preceding performance, the lowest of her first four dives to set the scene for an interesting finish.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CAN?src=hash">#CAN</a> Jennifer Abel is pushing for a medal in the women's 3m springboard. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rio2016?src=hash">#Rio2016</a> <a href="https://t.co/ghYHf5dqIM">https://t.co/ghYHf5dqIM</a> <a href="https://t.co/GzJLfskP0r">https://t.co/GzJLfskP0r</a>—@CBCOlympics
But Cagnotto answered when it mattered most, managing great extension on her reverse 2 1/2 pike to put pressure on Abel. She picked up three 9s in collecting 81.00 points for the dive.
A focused Abel sat third after the opening dive but Cagnotto jumped into medal position in the following two dives. Abel, who qualified third with 373 points — 5.95 and 15.45 points more than He and Shi, respectively — was hurt somewhat in her third dive as her toes hung over the springboard and she could have been more sharp on the entry into the water.
After qualifying ninth, Ware rose steadily from ninth spot to sixth in the final prior to her struggles on the fifth dive. Ware ranked fifth on the World Series circuit this season and last on the three-metre springboard.
A week ago, Abel and Ware narrowly missed the podium in the synchro three-metre springboard, finishing fourth.