Springboard diving history dates back to the 17th century, though was introduced into the Olympic Games in 1908 in London, with the women's division finally added in 1920. Its counterpart was added into the games at the previous event in St. Louis.
United States Competitors. While, the early games were dominated by Sweden and Germany, the U.S. started to gain international attention in 1920 winning three gold medals- two of which were in springboard diving. 1920 through 1992 proved the U.S.A. to be a dominating force in the sport bringing home a total of 46 out of 75 gold medals for diving.
Ernst Bransten. Ernst Bransten is known as one of the most integral players in diving. He relocated from Sweden to the United States in the 1920's bringing new ideas about how to train divers, including his concept called the "sand pit." This set up offered divers the ability to perfect forms and moves off of a springboard into a sand pit.
Mike Peppe. Mike Peppe was a world-known diving coach who worked diligently to promote swimming and diving as competitive sports. He worked as a coach on a collegiate level and took his teams far in both diving and swimming. The break in his methods of training between swimming and diving brought about the concept of a separate diving coach. He also encouraged colleges to better cater to divers in the means of facilities to help them be more successful.
Advancement of Tricks & Style. While a double somersault was seen as a top quality move in the early years, divers has gone above and beyond that to pull off a reverse three and a half somersault in a single dive.
Advancement of Springboards. Springboards are now made of aluminum (wood was used forty or fifty years ago) and are more flexible offering better control and higher jumps. Though the size of the board depends on the facility and level of competition, the materials are generally the same to provide a consistent training method for divers.
Since the early years of spring boarding events have grown larger and now include thousands of events all over the world in a wide variety of age brackets. Diving has become so well-known and respected divers start in the childhood and work toward the ultimate goal of Olympic goal. The history of springboarding not only shows us the strength of a single, seemingly small, event come to life, but also of how this sport will hold strong well into the future.
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