The chase after the gold started early in the morning for Dimitri Sautin (RUS). He won the preliminary round, but only 4 points ahead of Tianling Wang (CHN).
18 divers moved into the semi-final and were trying to make the cut for the 12 who would contest the final. The scores from the five dives in this second round are added to the final points. This meant that Sautin had a 20 point lead on his rivals prior to the start of the decisive round. Not a guarantee of success but enough to raise Sautin's confidence over the rest of the competitors.
Sautin had one weak dive in his final program. Due to a back injury he changed one of his combinations from 3.5 reverse to a 2.5 reverse pike losing 0.5 in DD (degree of difficulty). The difference in total can be dramatic. For example if all judges give 8.0 ot comess to total of 84.00 with the higher DD but only 72.00 for the easier dive.
The final belonged however to Alexander Dobroskok (RUS), only fifth after the semi-final, as he moved into second on the first dive.
Sautin looked unbeatable receiving six 10s from the seven judges on his first dive. A mistake in the second dive allowed Dobrosok to close the gap to within 4 points.
Sautin and Dobrosok moved ahead after the third round, but Bo Peng (CHN) moved in between them on the fourth round.
On the fifth dive Dobroskok received 9.0 to 10s for a total of 94.86 with his inward 3.5 and a 3.4 DD. Sautin was received perfect 10s from all seven judges for his 2.5 reverse pike for a total of 90.00. Lower than Dobrosok due to the 2.4 DD. The seven 10s was truly a sensation as it has never happened before.
After their synchro win on the first day Dobroskok said that "I never beat Sautin, and that is my dream."
His dream finally came true on his last dive as Dobroskok received five 10s for his 2.5 reverse with 1.5 twist for a total 103.90 points, the highest marks of the competition and clinched the gold.
Sautin was good on his last dive but missed his entry. The mistake cost him not only the gold but also the silver.
This men's 3m final turned into the most outstanding competition ever held. In total, the judges awarded 33 x 10s with 13 for Sautin.