Peng Bo brought China their third successive Olympic men's three-metre springboard diving title with a magnificent display in the final on Tuesday.
Peng, silver medallist at the 2003 world championships, compiled an aggregate 787.38 points from his six final dives and five semi-final dives earlier in the day to make it three in a row for China after Xiong Ni's victories in 1996 and 2000.
Canada's Alexandre Despatie, the world platform champion, had dominated the preliminary round but the gold slipped away from him after his third final dive went uncharacteristically awry and he dropped into third position, 35 points behind Peng.
However, he pulled up to second with the final dive of the competition to take the silver with 755.97 points.
Peng said he felt both calm and excited. "I didn't actually expect I'd get it (the gold). It seems like a dream come true. I didn't expect I could do so well tonight."
Despatie said: "I made a pretty big mistake in the middle but I'm very happy that I was able to come back strong and have a good finish because after that third dive, for me I thought it was over."
Russia's Dmitry Sautin, the 1996 Olympic highboard champion, showed undiminished appetite for the battle and took bronze in the event for the third time in four Olympics with an overall score of 753.27.
Sautin, who came to Athens with six Olympic diving medals already in his possession, made it seven at the age of 30, finishing just ahead of China's Wang Feng.
The Russian had been out for five months earlier this year recovering from an injury to his right shoulder.
"I had to go through a long convalescence period. I was able to come back and get the medal and I'm extremely pleased with that," he said.
Wang was outscored in the evening's final only by Peng and pulled up to fourth on aggregate with 750.72, well ahead of the 2000 silver medallist Fernando Platas of Mexico.
But Peng dominated the final, showing his class with his second dive of the final, a forward 3-1/2 somersaults which netted him five perfect 10s and two 9.5s and a score of 92.07.
He picked up another 10 in the fifth round with reverse 3-1/2 somersaults.