Introduction to Olympic Diving

Diving | Published: Tue 2 August 2016

Who: 136 athletes from 29 countries over eight events

What: Men’s and women’s individual and synchro events

Where: Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre

When: Days 2 – 5 and 7 – 15



Diving sees athletes compete individually or in tandem, from springboard or platform attempting to execute intricate acrobatics mid-air, before entering the pool in vertical form with as minimal splash as possible.


Men and women compete in the same disciplines with the only difference being that men complete six dives, whilst women complete five.


Scores are assessed on:

  • Starting position
  • Approach
  • Height (off springboard or platform)
  • Flight
  • Entry into the water
  • Synchronisation with partner (in synchro events only)


Seven judges assess individual events, whilst 11 judges score synchronised events. Dives attract a score range of 0 – 10 with the highest and lowest scores discarded, with the remaining scores aggregated and multiplied by the athlete’s level of difficulty for each dive.


This means an athlete successfully performing a dive with a low degree of difficulty will receive a modest score, whilst an athlete successfully performing a dive with a high degree of difficulty will attract a high score. The trick at Olympic level, is to perform highly skilled dives, with consistently good execution.


Regularly one of the highest rating events on TV during Olympics coverage, Diving holds a long tradition within the Olympic movement. The sport first appeared at the 1904 St Louis Games, however in those days, success was based on distance diving, with the objective formed, to record the longest distance beneath the water before resurfacing.


By Sydney 2000, synchronised events were included on both platform and springboard, and in today’s form of diving, China are regarded the leading nation in terms of medal success.


China has claimed an amazing 25 of the 31 available medals since Atlanta 1996 and it's expected that China will again feature prominently in Brazil.


Arguably the most famous moment in Olympic diving history occurred at Seoul 1988 when US legend Greg Louganis struck his head on the springboard in qualifying, leaving him bloodied and dazed. He recovered his composure to go on to win the final, in one of more courageous feats in Olympic history.



Australia will support a team of nine athletes in Rio, with contestants competing in both men’s and women’s individual and synchronised 3m springboard events, and men’s and women’s individual and synchronised 10m platform events.


Western Australian Maddison Keeney will dive in two competitions, having qualified in the women’s 3m synchro and women’s 3m springboard.


Maddison will make her Olympic debut in Brazil, as the Games themselves are conducted in South America for the first time.


To follow Maddison’s campaign in Rio, view her bio below, including information on when she’s in action in Brazil.


Maddison Keeney