Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Olympics guide: Diving


After being told the bomb does not constitute as an Olympic dive we've had to rule ourselves out of this one. A summer's training wasted there. Make the most of your viewing with this guide...

When? 7-20 August 2016

Golds up for grabs: 8

Olympic presence: Men, 1904–present; women, 1912–present

Olympic Format: Men and women compete in spring board and platform events, in both individual and synchronised competitions.

Past Champions: USA : 49 | China: 33 | Sweden: 6


The basics

Olympic diving comes in two distinct formats, using 3-metre springboards and 10-metre platforms. There are competitions in both formats for men and women and for individual and synchronised diving, which was introduced to the Olympics in 2000. Synchronised divers perform the same dive simultaneously, or mirror-image dives (pinwheeling), and are judged on both the quality of the individual dives and their relationship to each other. In all formats, there are two rounds: a compulsory set of dives (chosen by the judges) and an optional set (chosen by the athletes).

Scoring and Judging

What makes a good dive? It took nearly three decades for Europeans and North Americans to agree. These days the consensus is that, out of a possible 10, a dive scores up to 3 points each for the quality of take-off from the board, flight through the air and entry into the water. The remaining point can be awarded as a bonus in any one of these three categories. The score is then multiplied by a degree of difficulty factor (DD) – so you get a lot more points for three twisting somersaults, for example, than for a quick half-pike. Olympic competitions have seven judges. To calculate the final score for a dive, the top and bottom scores are excluded and the remaining five averaged.

Basic Dives

There are so many different dives that the sport has had to invent a complex alphanumeric code to describe them all. That said, the basics are simple. A dive is defined by three features: the form of the take-off, the position of the diver during flight, and the rotations – somersaults and twists – performed during the dive. There are six ways in which divers spring from the board or platform: forward; back; reverse; inward; twist; and handstand. There are four different positions that a diver can assume in flight: straight; pike; tuck; and free. And there are two kinds of rotation: somersaults and twists (pictured, below).

(Image: Rex Features)



Olympics guide: Basketball


Olympics guide: Badminton


Olympics guide: Archery



Luis Suarez talks English football and the toughest PL defenders

He's a lover, not a biter

19 Oct 2016

Gary Lineker talks crisps, Rooney and "Sh*t on pitch"

Crisp don Gary Lineker reminisces about the time Diego Maradona nearly fell off a balcony

by Alex Christian
19 Oct 2016

Park Ji-sung now plays for De Montfort University's student side

And can't even prevent them from getting utterly drubbed

by Tristan Cross
14 Oct 2016

Watch San Marino players celebrate first WCQ away goal in 15 years

Ecstasy in Oslo

by Dave Fawbert
12 Oct 2016

The first-ever green card has been awarded in a football match

But how do you get one?

by Dave Fawbert
10 Oct 2016

Football's wonderkids that never made it

The prodigal youngsters that left us boy wondering

by Tristan Cross
05 Oct 2016

Celtic’s 13 year old wonderkid is already better than you'll ever be

Karamoko Dembele made his debut for the U20s last night

04 Oct 2016

The new FIFA president wants to ruin the World Cup

He might have just f*cked up massively

by David Cornish
04 Oct 2016

Sam Allardyce was foolish but he shouldn’t have been sacked

The England mess leaves more questions than answers

by Dave Fawbert
28 Sep 2016

England manager Sam Allardyce leaves after one game in charge

Farewell, Big Sam, we hardly knew ye

27 Sep 2016