What is the history of diving?
While jumping into a body of water is nothing new, turning it into an organized activity didn’t happen until events known as “plunging” became popularized in the early 1800s. Plunging was the act of seeing how far one could “plunge” into the water under the surface after entering a pool—much like when entering a pool from a pool deck when starting a swimming race.
A more modern act of diving into a pool didn’t gain popularity until later that century when gymnasts in Sweden and Germany discovered an alternative way for gymnasts to practice their tumbling routines into the water—an activity known as “fancy diving.”
It wasn’t until a group of Swedish divers visited Great Britain in the late 19th century and put on diving displays at local swimming club that the sport really took off. English men and women increased the difficulty of the activity by jumping into the water from raised platforms and boards.
Soon after, in 1901, the Amateur Diving Association was formed to help grow the sport.
Diving at the Olympic Games
Diving was included for the first time at the Olympic Games in 1904 in St. Louis. Initial diving events only included men and consisted of a platform diving event and a plunge for distance event.
Platform and springboard events were first included in the 1908 Olympic Games in London, and have been a part of the summer Olympic Games ever since—women were included in the Games beginning in 1912. Acrobatic twists, turns, and flips weren’t introduced into the Olympic Games until much later.
The diving program remained relatively unchanged until the Sydney Games in 2000 when synchronized diving was introduced on both the springboard and the platform—two divers form a team and perform identical dives simultaneously.
What are the current Olympic diving events?
48 athletes (24 women and 24 men) compete across four individual and partnered diving events at the Olympic Games: 3m springboard, 10m platform, synchronized 3m springboard, and synchronized 10m platform.