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Essential Olympics: Your guide to the sport of Diving

| 03.08.2016

Those who weren’t in the Taekwondo know, should now be well versed in the ‘Hogus’ and the most rewarding places on the body (points-wise) to kick an opponent.

Having bestowed this knowledge, Ladbrokes News’ ongoing guide to the lesser-grasped Olympic disciplines now plunges into the pool.

When it comes to diving, China are the benchmark. Four years ago in London, the Chinese scooped 80 per cent of the golds and won 10 medals altogether. USA were next with a single gold, a silver and two bronzes.

Of course, Britain has its own diving pinup in the chiselled form of Tom Daley, who is a triple European champion in the men’s 10m platform and a gold medalist at the 2009 World Championships. The Devonshire lad shot to prominence at London 2012 where he claimed a bronze medal in the same event.

Daley will be one of 136 athletes from 29 nations competing for 24 medals in Brazil. These will be earned across four disciplines – split into 12 medals apiece for the men and women.


3m Springboard (categories – forward, back, reverse, inward, and twisting)
As is says on the tin, these diving boards are in themselves a cantilevered spring set at a height of 3m (roughly 10ft). These high-tech aluminium diving boards have developed to enable athletes to gain more metres of height as they leap into the acrobatics.

-Men must complete six dives – Women must complete five dives
-There is no limit on the total degree of difficulty for these dives
-At least one dive during the contest must come from each of five different categories
-Men may repeat one of the categories for their sixth dive, women may not
-No dive can be repeated in a list of dives

10m Platform (categories – forward, back, reverse, inward, twisting and armstand)
You need a head for heights to jump off this bad boy. It’s still all about nailing those pikes and somersaults and clearly there is more scope to complete more acrobatics before entering the water. An extra element of gymnastics is also present with the starting armstand position for one of the dives.

-Men must complete six dives – Women must complete five dives
-There is no limit on total degree of difficulty for these dives
-For the men, at least one dive during the contest must come from each of six different categories
-No category can be repeated in a list of dives
-All dives must be competed from the 10-metre platform

Synchronised 3m Springboard / Synchronised 10m Platform
The principles of technique are exactly the same, but, you guessed it, this involves two competitors diving simultaneously from the springboards or platform. The competition is judged on how the two divers perform their dives individually, and how the two divers synchronise their performance as a team.

-Women must complete five dives – Men must complete six dives.
-The first two dives for both the men and women are assigned a degree of difficulty of 2.0.
-The remaining three dives for the women and four dives for the men have no limit on the degree of difficulty.
-Both men and women must complete dives that come from at least four different categories, with at least one dive facing forward and that dive cannot be performed from a standing position on the springboard.
-Within the men’s six dives, a category cannot be used more than twice.


There is a pool of seven wise judges, who hand out grades from 0 to 10 for each dive. The two highest and the two lowest scores are ignored. The remaining five scores are added up and multiplied according to the dive’s difficulty. In synchronised events, there are 11 judges and six grades to be dismissed.

Points breakdown

10: Excellent, 8½ – 9½: Very good, 7 – 8: Good 5 – 6½: Satisfactory, 2½ – 4½: Deficient, ½ – 2: Unsatisfactory, 0: Completely Failed

When judging a dive, the judge must not be influenced by any factor other than the technique and execution of the dive. The dive must be considered without regard to the approach to the starting position, the difficulty of the dive, or any movement beneath the surface of the water.

Ladbrokes is not an official sponsor of the Olympics and is no way affiliated with any of the competing athletes, events or competitions being held in Rio de Janeiro this summer



Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.