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Fourth-Place Medal

Diver David Boudia barely makes cut, then wins Olympic gold

Fourth-Place Medal

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On Friday, American diver David Boudia squeaked into the semifinals of the 10m platform. On Saturday, he won the gold medal.

Boudia's diving was near perfect for both Saturday's rounds. He was in third place in the semifinal round, behind Qiu Bo and Lin Yue, diving powerhouses from China. In the finals, divers start from scratch, so scores from previous rounds don't matter. Boudia's diving was steady and consistent during the finals. Outside of the 86.20 in the second round, he scored higher than 90 on every dive.

In the final round, Boudia was tied with Bo for second, just .15 behind British hometown favorite Tom Daley. Earlier in the finals, Daley had a redive because of a flash going off in the crowd. With the crowd behind him, Daley hit but had a less difficult dive than Boudia and earned a 90.75, and ultimately the bronze. The American also nailed his dive but scored 102.6 because of his higher degree of difficulty to win the gold.

Bo's final dive was good enough for him to win a silver. Yue took fourth, and was visibly upset by missing the podium. China is a diving powerhouse. Of the 24 diving medals handed out in London Olympics, it's won 10, including six golds. Bo won gold in both the synchronized and single 10m platform at the world championships in 2011. Getting one medal from the 10m platform was a shock.

[ Photos: Inspiring moments from the London Games ]

Boudia's gold is the first for an American diver since Laura Wilkinson won in 2000, and the first for an American man on the platform since Greg Louganis in 1988, the year before Boudia was born. He is leading an American wave of divers who are taking home four medals from London.

It nearly did not happen, as he was in 18th place after Friday's qualifying rounds. The top 18 divers make semifinals. But because of consistent and difficult diving during the semifinals and finals, he is a gold medalist.

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