Knight-Wisdom takes plunge for spot in final
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:
He had no idea how many points he had tallied or what position he was in, but as Yona Knight-Wisdom stepped on the board ahead of his last dive at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre yesterday afternoon, he knew one thing - he was going to end his series with a splash.
Well, in literal terms, that's not a good thing in diving, but Knight-Wisdom - Jamaica's first male Olympic diver, knew he could count on his favourite dive to maximise his chances of advancing from the qualifying round of the 3m springboard event.
A deep breath.
A nervy first step on the board.
"I had no idea of the situation, I just knew I had to go and do the dive like I know how to," said Knight-Wisdom.
"It's my favourite dive, my most comfortable dive, which is why I put it at the end of my list because I'm most confident that in any situation I can get a good start and a good entry on that dive.
"I got on the board and got a really great star."
A high hurdle and a near perfect execution of the 'Forward 31/2 somersault pike' was followed by a smooth entry and a pretty decent splash.
It was his highest scoring dive of the six in his series, pushing his final tally to 416.55 points - good enough for 11th place and securing a spot in today's semi-final, set for 10 a.m. (8 a.m. Jamaica time), with the final diving off at 6 p.m. (4 p.m. Jamaica time).
In fact, it was the first time that the British-born Knight-Wisdom was scoring over 400 points in the preliminary round.
This venue is proving quite the charm for Knight-Wisdom, who also got a silver medal at the Diving World Cup earlier this year.
"I felt myself going in the water and it wasn't a surprise because it's been my best dive all season, so I'm just glad it worked out well," said Knight-Wisdom.
"It was a lot of excitement, I am extremely happy, as you could see on my face after that last dive. As soon as I went into the water, it felt excellent, and I got out, looked at my score and saw myself over 400 (points), which was what I was aiming for," Knight-Wisdom noted.
However, the 21-year-old had made a rough start, scoring only 63.00 and 66.00 points on his first two dives.
"Nerves, that was definitely nerves. On my first dive, I was extremely nervous going onto the end of the board. I felt relaxed during the parade and everything as I got prepared for the competition, but as soon as I got on the board and heard the crowd, it kind of hit me a little bit," he shared. "I'm glad that I could sit myself down and get into my routine."
Now, even more confident, Knight-Wisdom is hoping to take that into today's series and book a spot in the medal round.
"This is a great start, and hopefully, I can improve on that score and get towards my personal best (459.25 points). Whether I get near that or not, we will see tomorrow (today), but I will try my best to get into the final."
Betsy Sullivan was Jamaica's first Olympic diver, after competing at the 1972 Munich Games.