David Boudia threw himself off the platform and into Olympic history.
Thomas Daley had a celebratory jump, too, but it came after the real thing.
Boudia won the men's 10-meter platform on Saturday night for the first United States diving gold medal at the Olympics in 12 years.
Boudia overtook Daley on a spectacular sixth dive, then waited to see if world champion Qui Bo of China could pass him on the final jump of the night.
When Qui didn't, Boudia capped a surprising last day of diving at the Aquatics Centre after nabbing the 18th and final spot in the semifinals Friday night.
"I'm in disbelief. This is so surreal right now," said Boudia. "I took it one dive, one step at a time."
It was the first U.S. Olympic diving gold medal since Laura Wilkinson won the women's platform event at the 2000 Sydney Games. It was the first diving gold from an American male since Mark Lenzi, who died in April, won the springboard at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
Qui settled for silver, only the second time in eight diving events here that China didn't come out on top. It won six gold medals after going 7-for-8 in Beijing four years ago.
Daley earned bronze over a year after his father died of cancer and celebrated by jumping into the diving pool with the British team. The 18-year-old won his first medal in his second Olympics.
It came on the heels of his fourth-place finish with Peter Waterfield in the synchronized platform event, after which British police arrested a 17-year-old for tweeting at Daley that he let his father down, a story that received front page headlines in the papers here.
"I really wish my dad was here to see me do that performance because we had such a long, tough journey together," said Daley.
His fifth dive, a back 3 1/2 somersault in the pike position with a 3.6 degree of difficulty, netted him 97.20 points for the lead going into the final round. But his last dive, a reverse 3 1/2 somersault tuck, had a lower degree of difficulty than the three divers who followed him -- Boudia, Lin Yue of China and Qiu.
It netted Daley 90.75 points.
Boudia's last dive, a back 2 1/2 somersault with 2 1/2 twists in the pike position for a 3.6 degree of difficulty, landed him the highest score of the night: 102.60 points for a total of 568.65.
Qiu was last and ended 1.80 points back, touching off very different reactions around the pool. Boudia celebrated with hugs, Daley leapt into the pool and Qui buried his head in his arms against the wall.
"Tom Daley dove the lights out, Qiu Bo dove the lights out," said Boudia. "I only did what I do in practice."
It was the second Olympics in a row the Chinese failed to win the platform event. The diver who prevented a Chinese sweep in 2008, Australian Matthew Mitcham, was eliminated in the semifinals.
"Pressure is a strange thing -- you can't really see it, but sometimes you do feel it," said Qui.
Boudia became the first American to win an Olympic medal in the men's platform since Scott Donie's silver in 1992. Greg Louganis won the last U.S. gold in the event in 1988.
American Nicholas McCrory finished ninth and Canadian Riley McCormick came in 11th.