Mexico gains its first Olympic medal


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‘The crowd had long since filed out of the arena, most of the press was gone and it was largely quiet in the bowels of the National Aquatics Center. For a moment, then, it was easy for Mexican platform diver Tatiana Ortiz to believe it was all just a dream,’ writes the L.A. Times’ Kevin Baxter from Beijing.

‘So she reached into the pocket of her sweatsuit jacket for proof.’

‘It’s not an illusion,’ she said, fingering her bronze medal again.

Ortiz wasn’t simply being modest, because any thoughts she and synchronized diving partner Paola Espinosa had of Olympic glory might as well have been an illusion 15 months ago. Back then, the two women seemed to be at odds as much as they were on the platform, struggling to find a bond under new coach Ma Jin. Tuesday, however, they gave Mexico its first medal of the Beijing Games, finishing behind China’s Wang Xin and Chen Ruolin and Australia’s Briony Cole and Melissa Wu in the women’s 10-meter synchronized diving.


U.S. teenagers Haley Ishimatsu of Seal Beach and Mary Beth Dunnichay of Elwood, Ind. -- at 15, the youngest Americans in Beijing -- nailed their final dive to jump three places to fifth in the final standings, but finished a distant 21 points behind the Mexicans.

‘I don’t have the words to describe this moment,’ said Espinosa, who carried Mexico’s flag in the opening ceremony. ‘I’m an Olympic medalist.’

-- Reed Johnson in Mexico City