Esther Qin in pike

Esther Qin is one of seven athletes representing Australia in diving at Tokyo 2020. Photo: Diving Australia Instagram

There are eight medals available in diving at Tokyo 2020 and the Aussies will need clean entries in the pool to bring one home.

There are eight medals available in the Tokyo 2020 diving competition, across platform and springboard events. For all your Olympic coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.

Not an event for the faint-hearted, diving is a competition of composed execution while falling at speed.

Since debuting at the 1904 Olympics in St Louis, diving has progressed rapidly. Athletes now push themselves to complete four-and-a-half rotations of acrobatic movements before entering the water.

The sport is performed either individually or in pairs from a three-metre flexible springboard or a 10-metre fixed platform. 

Athletes perform four positions – tuck, pike, straight and free-falling through the air. They aim to enter the water with as little splash as possible. 

Seven judges critique each dive from zero to 10. The highest and lowest scores are discarded, and the total is multiplied by the difficulty to calculate a final score. 

During the judging process, approach, take-off, elevation, execution, entry, and in the synchronised competitions coordination, are all assessed. 

Male divers execute six dives, while females execute five, across a series of three rounds including heat, semi-final and final. 

The synchronised competition is one round, the final, where eight pairs from eight nations compete for Gold.

The Tokyo 2020 diving competition will take place at the Olympic Aquatic Centre. Also at this venue will be the swimming, artistic swimming and para-swimming.

Historical results

China has dominated diving at the Olympics since the 1980s. It’s won 39 of the 52 gold medals offered from 1988 to 2016.

In Rio, China won seven gold medals from a possible eight. The other gold medal was collected by Great Britain duo Chris Mears and Jack Laugher in the synchronised three-metre springboard. 

China’s Chen Aisen won Gold in the Men’s 10-metre platform and the synchronised event with partner Lin Yue.

Two more gold medals were won by Shi Tingmao in the Women’s three-metre springboard and in the synchronised springboard with Wu Minxia. Australian’s Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith won bronze in this event.

In early editions of Olympic diving, the United States had great success. However, medal placings dropped by the 1980s. The US has been building again and will look to challenge for medals at Tokyo 2020.

Australia’s first diving medal was won by Dick Eve at the Paris Olympics in 1924. Eve won Gold in plain diving, which included two dives from a five-metre platform and two from a 10-metre platform.

Athens in 2004 was Australia’s most successful Olympics for diving, winning one Gold, one Silver and four Bronze medals.

Australian entries

Australia has finalised its squad of seven athletes to compete at the Games, including four debutants.

Veteran Melissa Wu, competing at her fourth Olympics, headlines the team. 

Wu holds the record as the youngest Australian to win an Olympic medal. She won silver on debut at Beijing 2008 in the synchronised 10-metre platform, aged 16. 

At the opposite end of the women’s team is 20-year-old debutant Nikita Hains from Western Australia. Hains has been selected for the 10-metre platform. 

The other two members of the squad are 2016 Bronze Medallist Anabelle Smith, who will compete at her third Olympics, and Rio debutant Esther Qin. Both will dive from the three-metre springboard.

Australia will be represented by three male divers, each making their Olympics debut at Tokyo 2020. 

The team includes Cassiel Rousseau and Sam Fricker, who will compete in the 10-metre platform, and Shixin Li who will represent Australia in the three-metre springboard. 

Li is Australia’s oldest debuting Olympic diver at 33-years-old. He is a two-time World Champion (representing China), who specialises in the one-metre springboard, which is not an Olympic event.

Australia will not be represented in any synchronised events. 

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The Tokyo 2020 diving competition starts on July 25 with the women’s synchronised three-metre springboard final. 

Anabelle Smith and Esther Qin will be the first Australians to spring into action, in the three-metre springboard on July 30

Great Britain, Italy and United States, along with Australia, are all in medal contention across the eight events. However, it will be hard to beat China who is still aiming for a clean sweep of gold medals.

After coming close Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016, China will be out to win all eight this Olympics.

Australian representatives will be aiming to stop this.

Australian Diving Team

FemaleEventOlympic games
Nikita HainsWomen’s 10 metre platformDebut
Anabelle SmithWomen’s 3 metre springboard2012, 2016
Esther QinWomen’s 3 metre springboard2016
Melissa WuWomen’s 10 metre platform2008, 2012, 2016
Samuel FrickerMen’s 10 metre platformDebut
Shixin LiMen’s 3 metre springboardDebut
Cassiel RousseauMen’s 10 metre platformDebut

Bold = Medalled

The diving gets underway on July 25 with the Women’s synchronised three-metre springboard and will conclude on August 7 with the Men’s 10-metre platform final. 

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