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The Unseen Side of Olympic Diving

The Unseen Side of Olympic Diving


When it comes to Olympics, diving is one of the most complex and unique sports. If you are looking to make some progress in your diving career, then this article may give you some history as well as inspiration!

Summer Olympics has been held in many places, such as Aquatics Center Olympic Park, Tokyo Aquatics Center, and London Aquatics Center. Many people have also bagged gold and bronze medals from the international tournament. 

Based on that, it may seem like the Olympic diving career is an easy one, but in fact, it can be quite complex. With that in mind, we are going to dig deep into diving into this article. 

You can learn about the history of Olympic diving, participating countries, diving positions, diving champions, and how this sport is calculated in the Olympics. 

A Brief History of Diving

History of Olympic Diving

Diving is a sport that started back in 19th century Europe. It didn’t become a part of Olympic diving until the 1904 Games of St. Louis. Ever since then, Olympic diving events have become a regular activity!

Of course, you are aware of the stunts, twists, somersaults, and synchronized swimming that goes with this artistic swimming Olympic games. All these are now regulated by the International Federation (IF) for aquatic sports and International Swimming Federation (FINA).

Only men were allowed to participate in the first Olympic diving event. The winner was selected based on who could reach the furthest level of the water while keeping a motionless stance. Springboard platform was included in the activity in the 1908 Summer Olympics. 

In the same way, women’s Olympic diving was introduced in the 1912 Summer Olympics and the springboard platform became a thing at the 1920 Summer Olympics. Later on, synchronized diving became part of the event in 1932 in Sydney which elevated the performance to 4 men’s and 4 women’s. 

You can also find diving events at the Commonwealth games too.

As the games progressed over the years, another major change occurred in 1984. China competed in the games and has bagged 47 gold medals so far!

Participating Countries

The countries that participate in the Aquatic Center Olympics are ones that you always see on television for Olympic diving. 

Having said that, the major names based on good performance are China, Sweden, the United States of America, Germany, Italy, Australia, Mexico, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Russia, the Soviet Union, Egypt, Greece, Malaysia, Ukraine, France, and Great Britain. 

The country with the most Olympic gold medals is the United States of America. It has won 46 silver medals and 46 bronze medals so far. Next is China with 47 Olympic gold medals, 24 silver medals, and 10 bronze medals. 

Other than these 2 champion countries, the rest of the teams in the Olympic committee have less than 6, 8, or 7 Olympic medals. With that being the case, Sweden has 21 Olympic medals in total, Russia has 18, Australia has 14, and Italy has 11.

Diving – Body Positions

Diving Body Position

There are many ways to dive and you will know about those positions after you go through this section. Brace yourself. Here they come!

Forward Dive

The forward dive is the simplest dive there is in the Amateur Swimming Association. The diver faces the water from the edge of the platform and then rotates forward halfway. Then, enters the water straight. Basically, the diver rotates and dives forward. 

Backward Dive

The backward dive is the opposite of the forward dive. Here, the diver has to stand at the edge of the platform and face away from the water. He must spring and rotate backwards to enter the water surface. 

Reverse Dive

Reverse dives can also be knowns as gainers. In this case, the diver faces the water and does a cool somersault before entering the water. Many people are afraid of this dive because there is a high possibility of hitting your head!

To avoid injury, stand at the edge of the board and create a T with your arms and body. Swing your arms in a circle until they are next to your ears. Bend your legs and jump a foot away from the board. 

Inward Dive

The inward dive involves the diver taking off the platform facing backwards. That means you have to look away from the pool. When you take off the platform, you are supposed to be rotating just as with the reverse dive. Any dive that involves backward rotation needs to use the arms for power. 

Twisting Dive

The twisting dive is more complicated than the ones you have just read about. You may take a running or standing stance to form a twist with your body around the longitudinal axis. There are many ways to twist and dive, for example, forward twists, backwards twists, and reverse twists. 

Armstand Dive

Finally, the last dive that we want to bring to you is the armstand dive. Here, you have to perform a headstand at the edge of the springboard and your back must be towards the water. 

How is Individual Diving Scored?

You must have thought about how individual diving is scored by the Olympic judges. In fact, we are also curious about this. The scoring is calculated differently for individual Olympic diving and synchronized diving. 

A panel of judges is responsible for scoring the individual divers from 0 to 10. The bottom 2 scores and the top 2 scores are ignored for some reason. The remaining scores are then added up and multiplied by the level of diving difficulty, which is also known as the degree of difficulty

Overall, the judges consider the starting position of the diver, the takeoff performance, the flight in the air, and entry to the water body. 

How is Synchronized Diving Scored?

Synchronized diving is calculated differently from individual diving. Of course, the judges need to examine and score how synchronized the diving performance was. Usually, there are 3 judges for individual dives, and 5 to judge synchronized ones. In all, there is a total of 11 judges that are involved in scoring this type of diving. 

In this case as well, only the median score of each diver is put into consideration and the middle 3 scores are examined for synchronization. Ultimately, the sum of the 5 scores is multiplied by the degree of difficulty. 

Synchronized scores are given based on the take-off, starting position, coordinating movements during flight, the similarity of height, similar angles of entry, distance from the board, and timing. 

Olympic Diving – Champions

Now, this is the fun part after going through all those technical details. We already know which country has won the most gold medals, but what about the diver that won the most medals? This section is all about that!

The most successful diver Wu Minxia from China has won 5 gold medals, 1 silver medal, and 1 bronze in the Olympic final. The 2nd most successful is Chen Ruolin from China as well. She has 5 gold medals. 

Guo Jingjing and Fu Mingxia have 4 gold medals each. But Guo has 2 silvers and Fu has 1. There is a little bit of variation now that Chinese divers are no longer taking the stage. Among other divers, Greg Louganis and Pat McCormick are from the United States and have 4 gold medals each from the Olympic final. Greg just has 1 silver as a topping! 



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