World of Sport

The ‘out of their minds’ divers who hit the water at 60mph

World of Sport

For the first time in sporting history, diving's World Championships have included a high dive category. And for the life of us we can't work out why they never did it before.

A group of cliff divers, daredevils and certifiable lunatics took part in the event in Barcelona, which involved leaping off a 27m platform (that's 90 feet in old money) and plunging into harbour of the Catalan city.

Orlando Duque won the inaugural high diving world championship title in Barcelona, pipping Britain's Gary Hunt for the crown.

View gallery


Britain's Gary Hunt pictured in action in Barcelona in a shot which shows just how high these guys are diving  …

The 38-year-old Colombian Duque scoring 590.20 with his leap to win by the narrowest of margins: Hunt was on course to win until a mistake on his final dive gave legendary cliff diver Duque the win by just 0.90 points. Mexico's Jonathan Paredes came third with 578.35.

After the event finished, Czech contestant Michael Navratil gave the thousands of spectators one final treat by donning a red cape to perform his 'Superman' dive - which you can see in the video at the bottom of this page.

View gallery


Athletes, who are described as "totally out of their minds" by Olympic 10-metre platform champion David Boudia, plummet for three seconds before smacking into the water at around 90 kilometres per hour - that's 60mph.

Both male and female competitors - American Cesilie Carlton took gold in the women's event on Tuesday and admitted afterwards she suffers from vertigo - must land feet first to help avert injury.

Four scuba divers, two jet skis and a boat are on hand nearby in case of mishap.

"I'm afraid of heights and I get pretty nervous on the platform," Carlton said on Tuesday.

"But I know I'm in control of what I'm doing so as long as I go very quickly and don't look down for too long it works."

Carlton and her rivals competed from a 20-metre platform.

View comments (105)