Springboard diving Olympics history is almost as interesting as the sport itself. Olympics diving includes two styles: springboard and platform. They are part of the aquatics discipline, which also contains swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo. Springboard diving is done from a flexible diving board. Olympic regulations state that the board must be no less than 4.80 meters long and a half meter in width. It also needs to have a non-slip surface. Pools for diving need to be at least five meters deep.
Despite being included among the aquatics disciplines, springboard diving actually has more in common with gymnastics than with swimming. It was, in fact, started as a gymnastic exhibition among German and Swedish gymnasts in the 1700s. In the summer, gymnasts would perform tumbling routines that ended in water landings. Late in the 1800s, a traveling group of Swedish performs went to England to perform and the exhibitions proved so popular that the Amateur Diving Association was soon born.
The sport of springboard diving continued growing in popularity over the next couple of years and in 1904, it was introduced into the Olympics as a competitive sport. The following summer Olympics games in 1908 included versions of platform and springboard diving. Women's springboard diving was introduced in 1912 at the Stockholm Olympic games. The sport has remained relatively the same since the 1928 games in Amsterdam when the height of the springboard was set at three meters.
In the early years of diving, the Germans and Swedes naturally led the pack. But the United States were quick to dominate the sport and remained at the top for most of the 20th century. American diver Greg Louganis is considered by many to be the greatest diver of all time. However, towards the end of the 20th century, the Chinese became a force to be reckoned with and are recognized as the strongest competitors in the sport of springboard diving. Australia and Italy are other countries that have done well in Olympic springboard diving.