Seven of the eight teams in the men's synchronized 10m platform event were expected to compete for a medal. But behind the dominant Chinese pair of Chen Aisen and Lin Yue, it was the Americans David Boudia and Steele Johnson that distanced themselves from the pack to handily win the silver medal.
Boudia and Johnson scored more than 80 points on all four of their optional dives and saved the best for last, delivering a 95.04-point, back 2.5 somersault, 2.5 twist dive that carried a degree of difficulty of 3.6 when the podium was on the line.
Once Boudia and Johnson summited the tower, they wasted little time executing their dives. Leaning on their faith and their immense respect for each other, the duo was able to harness the nerves induced by preparing to leap from a 33-foot platform while representing their country on the highest stage.
"It was cool, walking up those stairs together tonight, it was just like we were back at Purdue University in training. We were at ease," Boudia said. "Yes, we’re at the Olympic Games and there’s millions of people watching, but this was the most fun I’ve had a competition in a really long time.”
"I'm always nervous," Johnson said. "But it wasn't the most nervous I've ever been. I was able to control the nerves pretty well, I thought."
Proving cool in the clutch will go a long way for the pair when they stand alone atop the tower and compete in the individual platform event next week.
"These six dives were some of the best we’ve done," Boudia said. "Obviously there’s more in the tank, but this has been a phenomenal journey for both of us, and I don’t think I would have been able to go through it without a friend like Steele."
The close friends will turn to competitors in the men's individual 10m platform -- the eighth and final diving event on the Rio Olympics slate -- which begins Friday, Aug. 19 at 3pm.