The Eiffel Tower as a neighboring springboard and the Seine as an arrival dock. For an event on the Red Bull Cliff Diving circuit (ie “cliff diving”), the backdrop will be atypical. Paris hosts, on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 June, for the first time a stage of the World Cup of the specialty. In the past, in France, divers had flown from the tower of Saint-Nicolas, in the port of La Rochelle, and from Cap Dramont, in Saint-Raphaël in the Var.
After a first stopover in Boston, in the United States, on June 4, the best high-flying divers in the world will meet in Port Debilly, in front of the Eiffel Tower. Franceinfo tells you more about the event.
The City of Light, a goal accomplished
Installing a diving board on the Seine: the organizers of the extreme diving world circuit had been dreaming of it for years. “We have already organized urban stops, next to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Oslo or Copenhagen, for example. But the aura of Paris is incredible with international divers. Everyone is very impatient.” confesses Hassan Mouti, former French diver on the circuit and now director of the competition.
In Paris, no monument tall enough allows you to plunge directly into the Seine. Consequently, a platform was built from scaffolding in Port Debilly, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, to install two trampolines: one at 27 meters for men and another at 20 meters for women. againstAccording to the regulations, the participants will land in a deep space of a pIt was more than five meters.
After Paris, theThe next events are scheduled for Copenhagen (Denmark), Oslo (Norway), Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Sisikon (Switzerland) and Polignano a Mare (Italy).
A fall at almost 80 km/h
Jumping from 27 meters, the divers hit the water at almost 80 km/h, less than three seconds after taking off. The jumpers cover the 20 meters in less than two seconds at 60 km/h. To ensure your safety, four people are in the water (three snorkelers and one scuba diver).
“It is one of the most dangerous extreme sports because you don’t wear a helmet or a vest. The risks are multiple and similar to those of a motorcycle accident”, explains Hassan Mouti. He himself had to withdraw from the trampolines after a serious accident in competition. According to the event director, incidents remain rare: “Last year, there was only one, and he was underage.”
To limit unnecessary risks, the rules are strict. An athlete may submit a combination that he has never performed in competition with the sole condition of obtaining the agreement of the event director and the referee. “We know the jumpers and what they are capable of doing. We will talk to the person, find out how he prepared the trick, watch videos of the training. We can ask him to do it in front of us to validate it. Or not.”says Hassan Mouti. “We don’t want to limit the development of our sport, but rather control risk taking.”
The current champion at home
Extreme diving legend Gary Hunt is French. Of British origin, the long-haired diver has had a tricolor passport since 2018, after a decade in France. He will dive this weekend at home, he who shares his training between the swimming pool of the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance (Insep), located in the Bois de Vincennes, and that of Montreuil.
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Present on the circuit since its creation in 2009, Gary Hunt holds the record for the number of titles won (eight) and victories (39). Among the women, the Australian Rhiannan Iffland (30) dominates the debates. In total, 24 athletes (12 women and 12 men) will compete in Paris, the eight best in the world in both categories, permanent members of the circuit, and eight guests selected by Hassan Mouti. Everyone will come out with a bonus, from 8,000 euros for the winner to 1,000 euros for the last one. “Everyone who jumps takes risks, so everyone should be rewarded”, explains the contest director.
a free event
The contest is open free of charge to the public, who can admire the show from the event venue or its surroundings. Giant screens will also be installed. The event begins on Friday, with the warm-up from 2:15 p.m. to 3:25 p.m. Then, each athlete will make two dives (simple and intermediate) between 15:30 and 17:30.
On Saturday, the warm-up will start at 1:45 p.m. and the last two rounds (with more difficult dives) will take place from 3:00 p.m. to finish around 5:20 p.m. The award ceremony will be organized immediately after the competition.