Stylish Lo Bue clinches high diving gold for US

Reuters
Steve Lo Bue becomes the first ever high diver from the United States to win gold at a world championships, on the final day of the meet in Budapest.
Reuters
Reuters

Steve Lo Bue of the US poses with his gold medal after the men's 27-meter high diving event at the FINA world championships in Budapest, Hungary, on July 30, 2017.

Steve Lo Bue  admitted to a "surreal moment" as he became the first American to win gold in the men's 27- meter high diving at the FINA world championships on Sunday.

Lo Bue's career-high victory came two years after he was hailed as a "miracle man" after hitting his head on the diving platform at a cliff diving event in France.

The 32-year-old rallied from fourth place after the first two rounds to claim gold with 397.15 points at a specially-constructed six-meter pool in the River Danube opposite the parliament building.

He beat Michal Navratil of the Czech Republic by 6.25 points, with Alessandro De Rose of Italy taking bronze.

"When hundreds of hours of training come together in the three seconds it takes to jump from 27m, I couldn't be happier," Lo Bue  told a news conference.

"It is a surreal moment and I'm looking forward to a nice month of rest with my family before competing again."

In 2015, the South Florida-based diver hit his head during a routine in La Rochelle but completed the dive and then emerged from the competition with just a facial cut and bandage over his left eye.

Reflecting on the incident, Lo Bue said: "There are a lot of people who may have succumbed to the fear but I had to complete that dive two weeks later."

In Sunday's final, defending champion Gary Hunt had held a slender 2.65 point lead over Lo Bue  heading into the final round.

The Paris-based diver was title favorite having won the cliff diving series for the last six years.

Considered high diving's most difficult routine, Hunt attempted a forward three somersault and four-and-a-half twist with a running take off for his final dive.

However, the judges marked the Briton down for over-rotation on entry and he placed fifth, ahead of 2013 world champion Orlando Duque of Colombia.

"We never want to see someone mess up but this time I am overjoyed it worked in my favor," added Lo Bue.

Lo Bue's compatriot Andy Jones came fourth.

On Saturday, Rhiannan Iffland became the first ever high diver from Australia to win gold at a world championships, AFP reported.

The 25-year-old also became the youngest ever world champion in the event, as well as the first non-American champion.

Iffland scored 320.70 points ahead of Mexico's Adriana Jimenez (308.90), who finished fourth in 2015, and Yana Nestsiarava of Belarus (303.95), who matched her bronze from two years ago.

"It's been an amazing couple of days, getting up to that amazing platform, amazing facility that they put together for us," Iffland told reporters.

In 2013 Cesilie Carlton, who came sixth this time, won the event, while Rachelle Simpson took gold in 2015.


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