David Boudia became the first American since the great Greg Louganis to win the men's 10m platform gold with a sensational last-dive victory over China's world champion Qiu Bo at the Olympics Saturday.
Boudia held his nerve to execute a stunning back two-and-a-half somersault with two-and-a-half twists to deny the hot Chinese favourite gold with a winning 102.60 point dive.
Qiu, who had dominated the prelims and semi-final, could only come up with a 100.80 for the same dive to leave him with the silver medal, ahead of British crowd favourite Tom Daley.
Boudia, who only scraped into the semi-finals in 18th place in the prelims, finished his six dives with 568.65 points to shade Qiu (566.85) by just 1.80 points.
The partisan home crowd cheered wildly as Daley claimed bronze with 556.95, which he celebrated by leaping into the pool with his team-mates. But Qiu, who has dominated the event since the Beijing Games, looked shaken not to have taken gold.
Boudia's victory, following Russian Ilya Zakharov's victory in the men's 3m springboard final, left China with six of the eight diving medals, short of the coveted clean-sweep once again.
"USA diving has four medals at the (London) Olympics and maybe 1992 was the last time and this brings a lot of hope for everyone on the team," said Boudia, who announced he is getting married in October.
"The world is slowly catching up to China and it's exciting."
Qiu, who scored above 90 with all of his six dives, said he was not surprised to have lost the gold medal.
"Actually, I'm not that surprised because everybody has done a great job tonight and I'm just doing my best," Qiu said.
"I'm a little bit disappointed, but I am still pleased because this is my first Olympics and I got silver here.... I think it's good enough.
"The dominance of Chinese diving the result of everybody's contribution. Even though I didn't get a gold today doesn't mean that we will not get another gold. I believe we are strong enough to get it back some day."
Boudia's unexpected victory breaks an American drought in the event since Louganis won his second and last platform title in 1988.
"To have Greg Louganis back in USA Diving and just being an athlete mentor means a lot for all of us athletes to know that we have an Olympic legend just giving us his wisdom, sharing his stories and who better person to have than Greg," he said.
The final had controversy at the start when Daley protested to the referee that he was distracted by flash photography during his opening dive -- a back two-and-a-half somersault with two-and-a-half twists -- which earned 75.60.
He was awarded a re-dive, and this time he was given 91.80 by the judges, an extra 16.2 points, to a massive roar from the pro-Daley crowd.
"It was just an incredible competition and I'm just so happy to come out the other side with a bronze medal," said Daley, whose father died last year from brain cancer at the age of 40.
"That is the performance I am going to remember for a long time, purely for the fact that for all the pressure and expectation I had at the Olympic Games to come out the other side with something to show for it.
"It's just been an amazing experience and I can't wait for Rio to try and change the colour of the medal."
Qiu's teammate Lin Yue showed the pressure was getting to him with a poor fourth dive of just 68.45, which dropped him out of the medals.
"Pressure is a strange thing - you can't really see it, but sometimes you do feel it," Lin said.
"I started to doubt my ability when I made a mistake. My confidence was shaken, and that's what I think the main problem was."
The pool erupted into a massive roar as Daley hit the front with one dive left, after a super back three-and-a-half somersault earned 97.20 and put him 0.15 points ahead of Boudia and Qiu in a gripping battle for gold.
On the last dive, Daley's 90.75 brought a massive roar and set up a terrific finish for gold between Boudia and Qiu.