Since the time when the sport of diving sport was included to the program of the Olympic Games, the rules of diving competition have been changed dozens of times, but its popularity has remained unchanged.
Among a variety of competitive aquatic sports, diving competition can be considered one of the most spectacular. Not only does competitive diving demand fantastic physical fitness and stamina, but it also requires the ability to control the minutest movements of the body as it makes its way through the air.
In a diving competition, competitors can either jump from a springboard, which is a supple board one or three meters high, or from a stiff concrete platform which is higher. The overall performance of a diver is made up of the following elements - starting position, approach, take off, flight, entry. Each element is judged by a panel of judges conducted by a referee according to the competitive diving rules.
Competitive diving rules are fairly rigid. Thus, on a starting position the athlete is expected to keep his body straight. Once he loses his balance, a "balk" may be announced by the referee, which will result in the diver losing two points automatically. If the athlete fails to start the dive properly on the second attempt, the dive will be considered a failure.
While approaching the edge of the springboard/platform, the diver should make at least four steps. The flight itself will be assessed with regard to the elements employed.
What is more, the position of the diver's body during the flight should correspond to the one which has been announced. These positions are described as tuck, pike, straight, and free. For the sake of success the diver should do his utmost not to digress from the position announced. During the flight, the athlete is supposed to keep his body at a safe distance from the board, so that the competition would not end up in a tragedy. The dive is accepted as performed when the sportsman has gone completely under the water.
The rules of diving competition suggest that each dive, whether a running or a standing one, depending on the initial stage of the dive, has its numerical value. This can vary from 1.0 to 4.0 depending on the Degree of Difficulty (DD). The score of a dive is made up of the points awarded by the judges multiplied by the DD.
Also, divers can demonstrate their grace, agility and diving skills by performing in pairs. This "offshoot" of diving competition is referred to as synchronized diving. While diving simultaneously, two divers of the same gender make either the same type of dive or dives that match, when taking off from the same height.
A panel consisting of nine judges (compare to seven judges engaged in a single-diver competition) is responsible for assessing the performance of each sportsman as well as their overall achievement in terms of synchronization. In 2000, the title "Olympic sport" was dubbed upon synchronized diving, proving that this kind of diving competition has gained its vested niche in the abundance of the most significant athletic events.