David Boudia of the United States, after landing the final spot in the semifinal, qualified third behind the two Chinese favorites Saturday morning in the men's 10-meter platform.
Boudia scored 531.15 points on his six dives to finish 32.40 behind reigning world champion and favorite Qiu Bo, who also had the highest qualifying score in Friday's preliminary. Lin Yue was second again behind his Chinese teammate.
Boudia greatly improved upon his finish from Friday, when he took the 18th and final spot in the semis.
The final is Saturday night, when Boudia will try to become the first American to win an Olympic medal in the event since Scott Donie's silver in 1992. Greg Louganis won the last U.S. men's platform gold in 1988. Laura Wilkinson earned the last American diving gold in any event in the women's platform in 2000.
Great Britain's Thomas Daley qualified fourth, the same position he and his partner Peter Waterfield finished in for the men's synchronized platform event earlier in these games.
That outcome was overshadowed by what happened afterward when police arrested a 17-year-old for tweeting Daley that he let his deceased father down. Daley's father died of brain cancer last year.
American Nicholas McCrory qualified seventh and Canadian Riley McCormick got the 12th and final spot.
Qiu and Lin will try to extend China's dominance over diving at the London Olympics. The country has won six of the seven diving events here after going 7-for-8 in Beijing four years ago.
The diver who prevented a Chinese sweep in 2008, Australian Matthew Mitcham, was the defending Olympic champion until he finished 13th Saturday morning to be eliminated.