Originally written on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 9/8/14

In recent years China has dominated diving the way it usually dominates table tennis.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China won gold in 7 of the 8 diving events and took 11 of 24 total diving medals. In Athens, the Chinese won gold in 6 of the 8 diving events and took 9 overall medals. China won 5 gold and 10 overall medals in diving in 2000.

China’s emergence as a diving superpower has coincided with an American diving slump.

Prior to the London games the United States had not won a diving medal of any sort since Laura Wilkinson won gold in the women’s 10 meter platform in 2000 in Sydney. Wilkinson’s gold was the USA’s only diving medal in Sydney.

USA Diving had been plotting an American diving resurgence for the London games, focusing on the synchronized events. The strategy paid off. The United States won medals in three of the four synchro events—the country’s first ever synchronized diving medals and first medals of any kind in 12 years.

But Team USA’s greatest moment came in an individual event, the men’s 10 meter platform.

After five of six dives in Saturday night’s platform final, Indiana native David Boudia found himself tied for second with Chinese world champion Qiu Bo, both trailing British heartthrob and 2009 world champ Tom Daley. Boudia needed a perfect dive to overtake Daley and Qiu, so he did this:

GIF from SBNation

It doesn’t get much closer to perfect than that.

Boudia scored a 102.6, the highest score of the event. Qiu followed Boudia with a great dive of his own, but his 100.8 was only good enough for silver.

David Boudia became the first American to win the men’s 10 meter platform since Greg Louganis in 1988 and the first American diving gold medalist in a dozen years.

Boudia, who graduated from Noblesville High School just north of Indianapolis and dove for Purdue for three years, barely advanced out of the preliminary round of the competition. Eighteen divers advance from the prelims to the semifinals, and Boudia placed 18th. He did much better in the semis, placing third, and stayed among the leaders throughout the finals.

Despite his lucky-to-advance performance in the prelims, Boudia didn’t come from nowhere. He won bronze in the synchronized platform with partner Nick McCrory and took silver in the platform at last year’s World Championships.

But to win gold he had to edge out the last two world champions. And that’s what he did.

Former Purdue diver David Boudia took gold in the platform and bronze in the synchro platform in London. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini /AFP/Getty Images)

Boudia makes his home in West Lafayette, where he takes classes and trains with coach Adam Soldati at Purdue. He forfeited his final year of Boilermaker eligibility in 2011 to turn pro and train for the Olympics full-time.

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