Olympics Platform Diving History
Olympic platform diving history goes back to the 17th century when the Germans and Swedish team performed the act in their gymnastic routine. The activity included somersaults and twists and were part of the gymnasts summer training, and later the activity took place in the ocean. Today, the sport is part of the aquatics performance in the Olympic Games held every four years.
Platform diving became internationally known in 1904 at the Olympic Games held in St. Louis. The two events featured were men platform diving and plunging with two competitors the Germans and the Americans. George Sheldon of the United States won the competition, but the German team protested the decision. They felt since their performance was more difficult than the Americans they deserved to be the winner. Even though, their performance had numerous crashes on their stomach, and the Americans performance flawless. The Olympic committee upheld their decision keeping Mr. Sheldon as the winner.
Women’s platform diving became an Olympic Activity in 1912. However, they could only perform plain dives unlike the men who use twist and somersaults in their routine. Later in 1920, females started springboard in the Olympic Games. Eventually in 1928, the Olympic Committee allowed other diving activity and referred to this program as fancy dives.
In 1928, Olympic organizers combined men’s plain diving and men’s fancy diving into one event, and finally allowed women to use twists and somersaults in their dives. Although dive complexity would progress dramatically and scoring would undergo many changes during the next 75 years, the events contested in the Olympic Games stayed the same until the addition of synchronized diving in the year 2000.
The Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur (FINA) came into existence in 1928. The organization assumed the responsibility of publishing new tables, platform diving groups as well as four body positions. This organization is still the governing association today.
Germany and Sweden dominated platform diving competition. However, in 1920, the United States outperformed both countries winning the most gold medals. This dominance by the United States continued until 1992.
Over the years, platform diving has made great progress going from using fourteen platforms in its infantry stage and twenty springboard dives to 85 platform dives and 67 springboards today. Double somersaults once viewed in 1904 as a dangerous performance is now considered a normal activity and done flawlessly in the Olympics.