Completing a one-two for China was He Zi, who had a very pleasant surprise waiting for her during the medal ceremony, with Italy’s Tania Cagnotto winning a bronze to go with the silver she picked up in the synchronised event last week.
The reigning individual world champion, Shi was tied with He after the first two dives before scoring a competition-best 84 points with her third to move into the lead. Shi’s final total of 406.05 gave her victory by 18.15 points from her compatriot and made her the third woman after Wu and retired Chinese diver Guo Jingjing to win gold in both the 3 metre synchronised and individual events. China have dominated the individual competition since Seoul 1988, winning every gold since then and every silver since Sydney 2000.
Speaking afterwards, the 24-year-old double gold medallist admitted to having been a little below her impeccable best: “I would give myself a score of 80 today because I was very nervous. Because it’s the Olympic final, wanting to win it affects your state of mind.”
Runner-up He, who also won silver in the event at the London 2012, rounded off a memorable night at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre by accepting a marriage proposal from her boyfriend and team-mate Qin Kai during the medal ceremony. It was the second time the question has been popped at Rio 2016, with Brazilian women’s rugby player Isadora Cerullo agreeing to tie the knot with her girlfriend after the medals were handed out for the Olympic rugby sevens competition.
“I didn’t know he would propose today and I didn’t expect to be getting married so early,” explained an emotional He, who said “yes” with a tear in her eye.
Participating in her fifth Olympics, Cagnotto was elated at winning her first individual medal, having come close on several occasions since making her Olympic debut in Sydney. “Now I’m fine and I can retire,” said the 31-year-old Italian. “I’m just happy and I’m enjoying this moment because I lost two medals in London by very few points.”