Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Beijing Olympics - Diving

Olympic boxing champ "Snowy" Baker was the first Australian to compete in Olympic diving. Although being able to beat his opponents with his fists, his combatants feared him a lot less when taking to the water. Unlike boxing, Australian diving has come along way and we regularly threaten for medals in most international meets.

But, is it just me, or is diving a sport that you have all the time in the world for with the women's event, but when it comes to the guys you find the remote control pretty quickly. For example, I can watch such talent as Sharleen Stratton for hours (don't worry she's 21):

Whereas the guys, and in this case its 3 metre synchro specialist Scott Robertson, seem to be continually sporting the 'just hopped of a cock' look:

Elements of the dive that are judged are the approach, take off, elevation, execution and entry into the water. Pretty straight forward - but approach?

Scoring: Individual events - Marked out of 10 by seven judges. The highest and lowest scores are eliminated and the remaining 5 scores are multiplied by the degree of difficulty, added, and then multiplied by 0.6 (why 0.6 I don't know, but I think Duckworth had something to do with this formula). Synchronized events - 9 judges score the dives, 4 look at the execution of the individual dives and the other 5 assess the synchronization of the divers.

Men complete in 6 dives, women 5 (fair enough best of 3 sets in tennis but is diving that gruelling that women can't do 6 dives?). After each preliminary event, the field is reduced to 18 who go on to the semi-final. After the semi-final, the preliminary scores and the semi-final scores are added to find the best 12 divers. These 12 then compete in the final. The medals are awarded to the best three combined semi-final and final score (DUCKWORTH!!!).

Australia have some real chances to take home some medals later this year, but don't be surprised if the Chinese clean up in Beijing. The Olympic squad put 5 medals into their kit after the recent FINA competition in Germany.

At any rate, I can honestly say that after a few bevies, one becomes quite the armchair judge, especially with the synchronized events. The diving should get plenty of coverage at this year's games, so do yourself a favour and settle into your lounge with a few cold ones and a clipboard.

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