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14-year-old Quan Hongchan scores 2 perfect 10s in historic gold-medal diving performance

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The youngest competitor in Olympic diving was the best on Thursday. By a longshot.

China's Quan Hongchan stepped up to her final dive of the women's 10-meter platform final needing to average 5.8 points on judges' scorecards to secure gold. She needed a 7.8 average to break the Olympic scoring record. 

She left both of those scores in the dust. Quan executed her back 2 /12 somersault with 1 1/2 twists to near perfection with qualified 10s across the board for a total of 96 points. It added up to 466.20 points across five dives, blowing out the previous Olympic record of 447.70 by 18.5 points.

Now a gold medalist and record holder, Quan would have been too young to qualify if the Tokyo Games were held last summer. (Reuters/Molly Darlington)
Now a gold medalist and record holder, Quan would have been too young to qualify if the Tokyo Games were held last summer. (Reuters/Molly Darlington)

The score was easily good enough to best Chinese silver medalist Chen Yuxi (425.40) and Australia's Melissa Wu, who secured bronze with a score 371.40, nearly 100 points back of the gold-medal pace.

She did all this at 14 years old in her first international competition.

Quan was too young to qualify last summer

Not only was Quan the youngest competitor in the women's diving field, she's the youngest of 431 athletes that China sent to Tokyo for the Olympics. Had the Games gone on as scheduled last summer, she would have been too young to meet the minimum age (14) to compete in the diving competition. Now, she's made Olympic history.

Each of Quan's dives was the highest of the five rounds of medal competition. Two scored perfect 10s from all seven judges. Her second dive, a tucked inward 3.5 somersault, was deemed perfect across the board. A back double somersault with 1.5 twists out of a handstand on her fourth dive also garnered seven 10s.

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Only one judge found a flaw with her final dive, awarding her a 9.5 next to six 10s. But it didn't count, thanks to diving's scoring system. The two highest and two lowest scores are thrown out. The three remaining scores are added and multiplied by the dive's degree of difficulty. That means only the three middle 10s counted on her final dive that totaled 96 when multiplied by the 3.2 degree of difficulty.

At such a young age, Quan was a relative unknown until winning the 2020 Chinese national championship at 13 years old. She'll be a grizzled 17-year-old veteran by the time the Paris Olympics start in 2024.

Click image to see slideshow
Click image to see slideshow

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