Qin Kai broke down in tears as Russian Ilya Zakharov shattered China's dream of sweeping all eight gold diving medals at the London Olympics on Tuesday.
China were denied all eight gold in Beijing four years ago when Australia's Matthew Mitcham pulled out the dive of his life to down Zhou Luxin in the last men's platform event.
But defending champion He Chong and Qin Kai were expected to maintain China's winning streak in the 3m springboard after Chinese divers won the opening five events in London.
Steely Zakharov, a 21-year-old from Leningrad, produced a stunning forward four and a half somersault that clinched gold with a competition-high 104.50 points and leave Qin with silver and He with bronze.
"From 2006 until one hour ago He Chong and I had never been beaten by anyone, but this time we lost because of the degree of difficulty of Zakharov's dives," Qin said.
"I did pretty well, even though I didn't expect to get the silver. The Russian had a really high level of difficulty and he did extremely well.
"Zakharov has won once or twice before. He always tries very difficult dives. This time he pulled them off."
While Zakharov and the Russians were celebrating a famous victory on the pool deck, Qin was weeping uncontrollably.
"My coach said I did pretty well and my teammates were comforting me," said Qin, who began diving when he was aged six.
"We are always a team. We train together, we try together. They understand me."
He, who beat Canadian Alexandre Despatie and Qin for gold in the springboard event in Beijing, blamed himself for his failure to defend his Olympic title.
"I actually felt like it wasn't that much pressure, it was just me, the problem was me. I didn't do my best," He said.
"I have to accept the result of the competition. I started from way down and I tried to move up and I got a bronze. I'm still happy, but I'm a little bit disappointed.
"You never want to lose in the Olympics. It was a pity that I did. I lost but I have to face up to that."