Diving into the water from a great height is something that has been done since the dawn of civilisation. However, the first records of Diving as a sport date back to between the 18th and 19th centuries in Sweden and Germany, by gymnasts who started to perform movements before entering rivers or swimming pools.
The discipline gained popularity in the late 19th century, when a group of Swedish people visited Great Britain and showed off some diving acrobatics to great acclaim. The result was the founding of the first Diving organisation in 1901 – now managed by the International Swimming Federation (known by French acronym FINA). Ten years later, in 1891, the first official rules were established.
It did not take long for Diving to join the Olympic programme: in 1904, at the St. Louis Games, in the United States. Women began participating at the 1912 Games in Stockholm, Swedish capital.
The first Olympic Diving competitions were very different from how they are now. While the St. Louis Games featured only simple dives, the Paris Games of 1908 involved the use of a springboard and diving platform.
The programme became established definitively at the Amsterdam 1928 Games in Amsterdam: men and women competed in dives from springboards at heights of 3 and 10 m. New features only came at the Sydney 2000 Games, when synchronised dives were introduced, for duos, from both springboard and platforms
In Olympic Diving, the overall aim is to jump from a platform or springboard down to the water while performing acrobats. Technical factors are assessed for each jump, giving athletes points that establish competitors’ final classification.