2020 Tokyo Olympics diving creates the perfect learning opportunity
(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Diving is one of the most exciting Olympic events to watch. It's a fantastic display of athleticism—one that creates a collective agreement among the people watching at home or in the stands (we've all tried a dive or two at the local pool...and there's zero chance we'd ever be able to pull off such acrobatic masterpieces without ending in pain). Diving isn't a common sport, though, so typically a few questions follow close behind when it does pop up during the Summer Olympics. And the Tokyo Olympics is no different. As the diving competition springs into action, the search engines are firing at full blast with questions about the events. At the top are five that we've decided to help answer.
1. How deep are Olympic diving pools?
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This was our first question, too, so we were happy to (ahem) dive into the research. And the answer brings an interesting factoid: both platform diving and springboard diving occur in the same pool, so the host country needs to abide4 by FINA's minimum depth of... 16 feet.
Sub-question: What does FINA stand for?
(Photo by: Shizu Murai/Sven Simon/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)
You saw that, right? (We did as well and had no clue what the acronym meant). A little cut and past on the old keyboard and voila: Fédération internationale de natation amateur.
Why do divers shower after each dive?
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We had all sorts of theories on this one, but it turns out that the reasoning is relatively simple: to keep warm and relaxed. Typically the diving venues are air-conditioned, which means that hanging around in a swimsuit while facing tremendous pressure can make for a chilly circumstance. So the hot water helps keep the divers warm and their muscles relaxed and loosey-goosey—and in case you're also wondering: yes, that little pool they retreat to is a hot tub!
How to dive into a pool?
(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Everyone at USA TODAY List Wire is positive they have the "toothpick" dive mastered—unfortunately, as we have learned, that isn't generally considered a dive. A "dive" is only a "dive" if you enter the water headfirst. (Yes, there is a betting joke in there somewhere, too.) The Red Cross recommends that the water depth for diving be at least nine feet. And that you take it slow, maybe starting on the side of the pool from a sitting position before you go and begin your quest to nail the reverse 4 1⁄2 somersault in a pike position.
What are diving boards made of?
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The diving board's core is laminated wood (a more substantial option than a solid piece of wood) that's secured using clamps and metal spacers. After the entire puzzle is in a perfect setup, the clamps are tightened, and the resin mixture is left to cure at room temperature.
What is diving in swimming?
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There are two types of Olympic diving—springboard and platform (which you can see in the photo). And the competition is one of the oldest in the Summer Games, with the men's and women's events first beginning back in the early 1900s. Currently, there are four events: Two individual and synchronized dives. Men must complete six dives, and women must complete five. From our pals at FINA:
At least one dive during the contest must come from each of five different categories: forward, back, reverse, inward, and twisting.
Men may repeat one of the categories for their sixth dive; women may not.
No dive can be repeated in a list of dives.
And now, we're all in the know! More helpful Olympics coverage: 20 Olympic countries you may have never heard of