The Canadian diving star and teammate Reuben Ross struggled to a sixth-place finish in the men's three-metre synchronized event on Wednesday at the London Olympics with a total score of 421.83.
China's Luo Yutong and Qin Kai won gold with 477.0 points, Russia's Ilya Zakharov and Evgeni Kuznetsov scored 459.63 for the silver, while the U.S. team of Troy Dumais and Kristian Ipsen took the bronze with 446.70.
The Chinese divers have won gold in each synchronized event. They also took the men's 10-metre platform, women's three-metre and 10-metre synchro golds.
"I think Chinese divers have done a great job so far," Kai said through a translator. "We have four golds now and they all came with perfect performances."
Despite the Canadians' result, though, Despatie was able to draw some positives to build on.
“I am happy with my diving," he said in a release. "I feel relieved. It is a big step for my confidence. Because of my injury, it was rather difficult to train with Reuben. He’s been very patient with me and I thank him for that.
"Despite our lack of training together, we managed to be consistent through our six dives. For the individual event, I have four days of training left. It will be a step by step process until the end of these Games.”
Ross, a native of Regina, Sask., echoed the sentiment and said the Olympic experience was something to relish.
"This competition was special for me," he said. "I was nervous, but at the same time, I was ready to appreciate every moment. I said to myself that it was probably going to be my last six Olympic dives, so I wanted to enjoy the moment, the feeling.
"I realize that few people get to live an experience as exceptional as the Olympic Games. I was happy to dive in front of my family."
On their last of six dives, Despatie and Ross executed the same inward 3½ somersault dive on which Despatie was injured in a training accident in June.
While practicing for an event in Madrid, the Laval, Que., native struck his head on the board and suffered a concussion along with a severe cut just below his hairline.
The accident kept Despatie out of training for several weeks, but last month he declared himself healthy enough to compete in London.
Despatie still has the individual 3m springboard event, which starts on Aug. 6. He's trying for his third consecutive Olympic medal in that competition after winning silvers in 2004 and 2008.Suggest a correction