ack Laugher bounced back from a disappointing defence of his 3metre synchro Olympic title to win bronze in the individual event today.
Laugher had pushed the Chinese duo of Xie Siyi and Wang Zonguyuan close for much of the competition and had been lying second to Xie going into the final round.
But his fourth and sixth dives proved costly – scores of 81.00 and 87.75 – as both Wie and Wang landed monster dives of 102.60 for their finales.
The 26-year-old had set his sights on bettering his individual silver in the diving at the last Olympics but China has dominated throughout the Tokyo Games throughout the events.
Xie took the gold with a score of 558.75 points ahead of Wang on 534.90 and Laugher on 518.00. Both Xie and Wang had previously won gold together in last week’s synchronised competition.
Laugher admitted in the aftermath of his third Olympic medal that he had “wanted to quit” diving altogether after struggling mentally.
He paid tribute to Simone Biles, who returned to action today after a hiatus because of her own mental health issues, and said he had been working closely with a psychologist in the long build-up to Tokyo.
“He stripped everything back to basics,” he said, which in turn helped him restore his confidence off the three-metre board.
“I’ve had a lot of bad days and sleepless nights,” he said. “I hit rock bottom and feel like this is redemption. I feel like I’m back to normal again.”
Laugher’s British teammate James Heatly finished ninth in the final. He had been following in the footsteps of his grandfather Sir Peter Heatly, who represented Britain at the Olympic Games in 1948 and again in 1952.
It marked the British diving team’s second medal of the Tokyo Games after Tom Daley and Matty Lee joined forces for 10m synchro platform diving gold. Daley will be among the gold-medal contenders in the individual event.