Despite the fact that platform diving is one of the most watched events during the summer Olympic Games, many people do not know any platform diving facts. The combination of daredevil height and graceful acrobatics make platform diving fascinating to watch. While springboard diving is also featured, there is a level of danger present in platform diving that gives its viewers an addicting thrill. However, many people do not know the facts behind platform diving. Most of us only see an athlete who makes such a difficult routine look absolutely effortless before gliding into the water. Before the 2012 Olympics Games in London, England, educate yourself with these facts about platform diving.
The Basics. Platform diving is more commonly known as high diving. It differs from springboard diving because the diver launches him or herself from a steady tower rather than a low springboard, which bends to give the diver more height in their jump. Platform diving is usually done from a solid tower that is 10 meters (32 feet, 10 inches) tall. This tower extends 1.5 meters (five feet) over the water's edge and the regulation pool that divers enter is 5 meters (16 feet, four inches) deep. The average dive lasts approximately 1.5 seconds. Platform divers enter the water going at least 40 miles per hour. Often, they are traveling faster.
Judging and Scoring. In competition, there are six groups of dives that a platform diver can perform: forward, backward, reverse, inward, twisting and armstand. Platform divers are judged on a combination of form, execution and degree of difficulty. Oftentimes, the easier that a diver can make his or her dive appear, the higher their score will be. In platform diving, the diver begins by completing a set of four dives. These initial dives have limitations on how difficult they may be. Then, dives are performed without limitations. Female divers perform four unlimited dives while male divers perform six.
The Olympic Games. Men's diving became an Olympic sport in 1904 and was known as fancy diving. Women's diving became an Olympic sport in 1912. Since 1904, 249 medals have been awarded to Olympic divers. 126 of these medals (51%) have gone to Americans.