Rio 2016

Defending Gold Medalist Lands Serious Belly Flop

Diver belly flop Olympics
NBC

Ilia Zakharov came to the Rio Olympics looking to defend his gold medal performance in men's 3-meter springboard from the 2012 London Games, but it's been a trying few days for the Russian diver. Monday he had to contend with heavy winds blowing through the outdoor arena. It threw him off and he launched a series of poor dives that were barely enough to get him into Tuesday's semifinal.

Tuesday, things got worse. His fourth dive turned into a Batman v Superman-level flop after he didn't get the jump off the board he was looking for. That dive scored a zero from every judge.

Zakharov finished the day 18th out of 18 divers, making it the end of his bid for back-to-back gold medals. That's no easy feat. Only two divers have ever accomplished it on the 3-meter springboard: Greg Louganis and Xiong Ni.

He wasn't the only one who had troubles. Many divers struggled on Monday in the windy conditions. Malaysian diver Ahmad Amsyar Azman had a similar flop during his preliminary dives. Unfortunately, since his flop came a day earlier, he wasn't able to qualify for the semifinals.

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Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. A belly flop is the best possible outcome when he dives. Follow him @dlukenelson.