28 November 2021

London 2012: Bluffer’s guide to diving

July 17, 2012
London 2012: Bluffer’s guide to diving

Competitive Diving developed from gymnastics in the 18th century, when gymnasts in Sweden and Germany began to perform tumbling routines into water known as ‘fancy diving’.

Diving was one of the first Olympic sports to incorporate events for men and women and it requires acrobatic excellence and supreme coordination skills in order to do well, as athletes dive from heights of up to 10m into the waters below.

Britain is yet to win a gold medal in diving at the Olympics but they’ll be hoping that changes this year with youngster Tom Daley.

Venue: Aquatics Centre

Date: July 29 – August 11

Jargon buster

Pike: A diving position where the body is bent at the hips with the legs straight and the toes pointed.

Rip: The ideal entry when a diver hits the water without making a splash. It is named after the ripping sound as the diver enters the water.

Platform: The board (either 3m or 10m) from which divers start their jumps.

Elevation: The height a diver achieves from a take-off.

Approach: Steps a diver takes to the end of a springboard or platform before take-off.

Entry: The end of a dive when the diver enters the water. The entry should be vertical. Ideally, although there is no such rule, the diver should create little or no splash.

Basic rules

Olympic diving competitions are strictly airborne and are held at two heights; a ‘springboard’ dive set at 3m above the water and a ‘platform’ dive, set at 10m.

Athletes compete individually and in pairs (synchronised diving, or ‘synchro’). Individual events consist of a preliminary round, semi-final and final, while the synchro competitions are straight finals.

Styles of diving include front, back, reverse, inward, twist and armstand, with points awarded according to technique and grace. The more difficult the dive the higher the points it can score if executed well.

Judges must also take into account starting positions, run-ups, take-offs, flight and entry into water (which should be perpendicular and cause as little splash as possible).

Each of the seven judges score dives out of 10 and the athlete with the highest total is the winner.

One to watch

Look out for the GB pair of Tonia Couch (pictured) and Sarah Barrow who are the current European Champions in the 10m Synchro event. Also Monique Gladding who recovered from a near fatal diving accident just 18 months ago and is hoping to qualify for Team GB at next month’s trials in Sheffield.

Olympic rivalry?

The sport has been dominated by China, who won seven out of the eight gold medals in Beijing in 2008.

Who’s the gold medal favourite?

Chen Ruolin of China is definitely tipped for gold this year. The 19 year old won the gold medals in women’s 10m platform and 10m synchronized platform at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Who to follow on twitter…




Diving Olympic fact

Athletes must be 14 by the end of an Olympic year to able to compete at London 2012 meaning that diving has one of the lowest age restrictions of all Olympic sports.

The Women’s Sports Magazine

Photo credit: Sam Johnson

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