LONDON – A tough slate of dives paid off with a historic reward for Mexico’s Germán Sánchez and Iván García.
The natives of Jalisco won their country’s first Olympic medal in synchronized diving on July 30 in the 10-meter competition, which also was Mexico’s first medal of the London Games.
“We are still in awe about what just happened,” Sánchez told reporters after the competition.
Sánchez, 20, and García, 18, fell behind early but surged back into medal contention with a pack of exceptional dives. After two dives, they were surprisingly in last place before they moved up to fifth after their third attempt.
The Mexicans, who train in Guadalajara, had the highest degree of difficulty in the competition, which played the biggest role in their charge to silver with 468.9 points. China won the gold medal with 486.78. Nick McCrory and David Boudia of the United States took the bronze with 463.47.
Sánchez and García also posted the competition’s highest score of 95.95 points in the fourth round after nailing an inward 4 1/2 somersault tuck with a 4.1 degree of difficulty. It was the highlight dive of the meet, as well as a bold selection that offered a maximum opportunity for scoring.
Observers questioned the inclusion of that dive in recent weeks, but it stayed in the routine.
“We tried it so many times in the last few days and we were not doing it right, but it’s a dive that we have been doing for so long that we did not want to take it out,” Sánchez told reporters. “Everybody said that it was foolish to have a dive with such a big degree of difficulty, but here’s the result. Those critics made us better.”
Former Olympic diving medalists Jesús Mena and Fernando Platas spoke with Sánchez and García a day earlier, providing them with extra confidence and motivation. Sánchez and García won gold at last year’s Pan American Games.
“They told us that we needed to keep it cool out there because that’s the only way to win a medal,” Sánchez told reporters. “We even modified the diving list at their request and it totally worked.”