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Rio: Disappointment at the diving board

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Yucatán's Rommel Pacheco in 3-meter springboard finals on Tuesday. Photo: Getty
Yucatán’s Rommel Pacheco in 3-meter springboard finals on Tuesday. Photo: Getty

Fans were optimistic that Mexico’s first medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics would be handed to Yucatecan diver Rommel Pacheco.

All the signs were there. He placed second in both preliminary and semi-final stages of the 3-meter springboard competition. At 30, it appeared Pacheco was at his prime.

A fan in the stands cheers on Mexico shortly before Rommel Pacheco approached the diving board. Photo: NBC screen capture
A fan in the stands cheers on Mexico shortly before Rommel Pacheco approached the diving board. Photo: NBC screen capture

Then, a disastrous initial dive during the finals on Tuesday. Pacheco never recovered after placing a distant 12th among 12 divers in the first round. After scoring 45.90 and 58.50, he improved in subsequent attempts, ending the day with a magnificent plunge: 86.70, 79.20, 84.00 and 96.90, which combined to earn him a No. 7 ranking.

“I feel sad, very sad,” Pacheco told reporters. Medals went instead to China, Great Britain and the U.S.A

He said next he will take a vacation and consider his future plans, possibly heading to politics or civil service. The affable and photogenic Pacheco is one of the most popular Olympic athletes on social media.

And on Day 12 of the Rio Olympics, Mexico still has no medals to show.

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