China's He Chong followed up his Olympic gold with a world championship in the 3-meter springboard Thursday, pulling off one of the most difficult dives on his final attempt to beat out American Troy Dumais and Canadian star Alexandre Despatie.
He finished with the dive known as 5156B _ a forward 2 1/2 somersault with three twists in pike position _ and received scores ranging from 7.0 to 8.0. While both Dumais and Despatie received better marks, He's twisting, turning maneuver had a 3.8 degree of difficulty, giving him enough points to clinch the gold.
Slowed in training by a lingering knee injury, He didn't think it was an especially strong performance. But it was enough to give the 22-year-old his first individual world title with 505.20 points.
"I am satisfied, even though I made a few mistakes and some of my movements were not perfect. I felt a bit nervous," he said. "I think I performed average. The level of difficulty of my dives was quite high. I did not have a particularly bad dive. I just think I could have done better in each one of them."
Neither Dumais nor Despatie had a dive with a degree of difficulty above 3.5. Dumais finished with 498.40 points, while Despatie had 490.30.
Still, the 29-year-old American won his second silver medal of these world championships and the fourth of his career. He has yet to win gold, but isn't giving up even though he's at an age when many of his contemporaries have long since retired.
"Silver is great, but I know I can do better," Dumais said.
Dumais was fourth going to the final round, when he received a string of 8s and 8.5s for his final dive _ a reverse 2 1/2 somersault with 1 1/2 twists. That was enough to surge past Despatie, a three-time world champion, and China's other diver, Zhang Xinhua, who settled for fourth.
"I did not feel the pressure going into the last dive because back home we practice this dive all the time," said Dumais, who also won silver in 3-meter synchronized. "My coach gives me a score to aim for and that keeps it fun and real. He has great faith in me, and that is why I went into this event mentally strong."
Despatie had the top score of the semifinals but couldn't match it in the final. He settled for his second bronze medal of the worlds, having also placed third in 3-meter springboard, and the eighth championship medal of his career.
"To be top three in the world is always something positive," said Despatie, who won silver on springboard at the last two Olympics. "I would like to have done better. I know I can do better. But I've always said this is a sport of the day. Today, I did not bring out my best diving. But it was still good enough for top three."