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 produce 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 semifinal, 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 finished his six dives with 568.65 points to beat 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 teammates. But Qiu, who has long dominated the event, looked stricken 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.
Boudia's unexpected victory breaks an American drought in the event since Louganis won his second and last platform title in 1988.
The final had a controversial 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 to a massive roar from the pro-Daley crowd.
The British 18-year-old was third after the first round behind Boudia and German Martin Wolfram (97.20). The Chinese pair of Qiu and Lin Yue were equal fourth.
Qiu took the lead after the second round of dives with a superlative armstand back triple somersault, netting him 94.50 ahead of teammate Lin with Boudia and Wolfram, equal third just in front of Daley.
But the lead swapped again after the third round. Boudia's 99.90, for a forward four-and-a-half somersault, edged him to a 5.4-point lead over Qiu with Lin just behind in third spot.
Lin showed the pressure was getting to him with a poor fourth dive of just 68.45, which dropped him back to fourth as Qiu closed in on Boudia's lead with two dives remaining.
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.