Laugher and Mears stun Chinese to win Olympic gold

Jack Laugher and Chris Mears wrote their names in the history books as they became Team GB’s first ever Olympic diving champions with gold in the synchronised 3m springboard.

The British pair stunned world champions China with a sublime series of dives, taking the lead in the third round and holding on to clinch the title on 454.32.

Having won World Championship bronze 12 months ago, Laugher and Mears were expected to challenge in Rio and become the first British medallists in this event.

But the Brits – both competing at their second Olympics – took charge of the contest and held their nerve in spectacular style, warding off sustained pressure from both USA and China.

USA’s Sam Dorman and Mike Hixon ultimately won silver, finshing 4.11 behind the Brits on 450.21 while China’s world champions Cao Yuan and Qin Kai third on 443.70.

“It’s fantastic to win Britain’s first Olympic gold in diving," said Laugher.

"We only found out that it was the first gold medal before the podium. It’s one of the first on springboard as well so we’re so overwhelmed with what we’ve done.

“The dream has happened and it’s paid off and we’re ecstatic with how we’ve done.”

Mears added: "The Americans definitely put the pressure on us.

"I recognised they had done a really sick front. I knew they really nailed it and they were quite vocal about it and quite emotional.

“But we just stayed in our zone. We didn’t know how many points we needed because I wasn’t concentrating on that.

"All I concentrated on was landing on my head on my dive and I did that. And so did Jack so we came out on top."

The Brits have added a new dive to their list since last year’s Worlds – a forward 2 ½ somersaults, 3 twists piked which carried the highest dive tariff of anyone in the final.

And while a score of 86.58 kept the Brits’ noses in front heading into the final round, it was a nerveless performance of their ultimate forward 4 ½ somersaults which saw them home with a score of 91.20.

“We did fantastic in London on our fifth round dive, the triple out, which is the hardest dive in the world on 3m," said Laugher.

"We did it well today although it can be better. But I’ve got a gold medal so I don’t care. I’m not going to go up and do it again."