Jul 19, 2013, 8:57 AM EST
The world diving championships kick off Saturday at one of the great scenic venues in all of sports, the Piscina Municipal de Montjuïc in Barcelona, Spain.
You may remember the outdoor pool with a breathtaking view of the Catalan capital from the 1992 Olympics, where the late American Mark Lenzi won on the springboard and China’s Fu Mingxia prevailed on the platform, the first of her record-tying four individual Olympic diving golds.
Or the 2003 world championships, where recently retired Canadian Alex Despatie nailed one of the greatest dives in major championship history, his patented twister (backward 2 1/2 somersault with 2 1/2 twists from the pike position) with a whopping 3.8 difficulty, for 107.16 points (9s and 10s) in the final round to win.
You may also recall it from a Kylie Minogue music video.
Here’s a refresher and a primer for the first major international meet since the 2012 Olympics:
What happened in London: China dominated but again fell short of sweeping, taking six of eight events.
One of those two non-China golds came in the marquee diving event of the Games, the men’s platform on the next to last day of competition. American David Boudia upset a defeaning crowd inside the London Aquatics Centre by defeating Great Britain’s Tom Daley (in addition to world champion and favorite Qiu Bo.)
USA Diving won four medals in London, its first medals since Laura Wilkinson‘s comeback gold at the 2000 Olympics.
The other three podiums came in synchro events — Troy Dumais and Kristian Ipsen (bronze) and Kelci Bryant and Abby Johnston (silver) on the springboard and Boudia and Nick McCrory on the platform (bronze).
What’s happened since London: Start with Boudia, 24, who took time off to get married and appear as a judge on a celebrity diving TV show.
He returned to competition in May, taking silver at the USA Diving Grand Prix in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., behind a Chinese diver who did not compete individually at the Olympics.
Boudia then easily won trials a week later and notably nearly qualified the synchronized 3-meter springboard.
Boudia is tempering expectations given the layoff but said he will perform the same dives as he did in London.
What could be different from 2012 is the competition. Daley, he of the 2.4 million Twitter followers, was listed as doubtful due to a glandular problem by the BBC earlier this week. However, he’s in Barcelona and practicing but, like Boudia, will not compete in synchro.
Qiu, who cited an illness as a reason for settling for silver in London, is back boasting a new, higher difficulty dive. The 20-year-old leads a Chinese team hoping to sweep all 10 events as it did in 2011.
Dumais and Ipsen are the only other Olympic medalists on the 15-diver U.S. roster, but they are no longer synchro partners.
They parted mutually given Dumais, 33, isn’t yet committed to another full Olympic cycle and Ipsen, 20, is a rising junior at Stanford, 1,700 miles away from Dumais’ training base in Austin, Texas.
“I haven’t closed the door,” said Dumais, a four-time Olympian and five-time world championship medalist looking for his first worlds gold. “Hopefully he hasn’t closed the door.”
Dumais qualified for the synchro springboard with a new, even younger partner, incoming Texas freshman Michael Hixon.
Ipsen swept the trials one- and three-meter springboard events after doubling up at NCAAs in March.
None of the eight U.S. women’s divers have any worlds or Olympic experience, but keep on eye on Samantha Pickens, who won the NCAA one-meter springboard title for Arizona and then took the same event at trials, and Amy Cozad, who made the worlds team on the platform after finishing third at last year’s Olympic trials, where only the top two advanced to London.
Saturday: Women’s synchro springboard (11:30 a.m. ET)
Sunday: Men’s synchro platform (11:30 a.m.)
Monday: Men’s one-meter springboard (8 a.m.), women’s synchro platform (11:30)
Tuesday: Women’s one-meter springboard (8 a.m.), men’s synchro springboard (11:30)
Thursday: Women’s platform (11:30 a.m.)
Friday: Men’s three-meter springboard (11:30 a.m.)
Saturday, July 27: Women’s three-meter springboard (11:30 a.m.)
Sunday, July 28: Men’s platform (8 a.m.)
Sidney Crosby’s sister wants to play in Olympics
Dec 6, 2013, 9:06 PM EST
The U.S. Bobsled Team continued its golden start to the season, sweeping the two-woman and two-man World Cup races in Park City, Utah, on Friday. Olympic bronze medalist Elana Meyers and Olympic champion Steve Holcomb drove USA-1 sleds to victory at the 2002 Olympic track. Meyers, 29, notched her first career World Cup victory as a driver in her…
Dec 6, 2013, 4:18 PM EST
Lindsey Vonn safely made it down the mountain in her first competition in 10 months, finishing 40th out of 61 skiers at a World Cup downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday. The Olympic downhill champion completed the course in 1 minute, 59.22 seconds. German Maria Hoefl-Riesch won in 1:56.03 (results at bottom). “I was just too nervous,”…
Dec 6, 2013, 3:11 PM EST
Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal won his second straight World Cup race, taking a downhill in Beaver Creek, Colo., while no Americans finished in the top 10 on Friday. Svindal, the reigning world and World Cup downhill champion, clocked 1 minute, 44.50 seconds, in sub-zero temperatures in the first of three races this weekend. Austria’s Hannes Reichelt was second in…
Dec 6, 2013, 3:06 PM EST
Noelle Pikus-Pace continued her dominating start to the skeleton season, and this time she hasn’t been disqualified. The American won a World Cup event in her native Park City, Utah, with a two-run time of 1 minute, 39.54 seconds. She broke the track record in her first run by .11 of a second and then went…
Dec 6, 2013, 12:04 PM EST
A single U.S. speed skater won an event on the first day of the Berlin World Cup, but not the one many would have thought. Not two-time Olympic champion Shani Davis. Not world sprint champion Heather Richardson. Not world-record holder Brittany Bowe. Rather, it was Joey Mantia who won the 1500m in 1 minute, 45.80 seconds, .03 better than Poland’s…
Dec 6, 2013, 10:43 AM EST
Great Britain’s Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, who gained infamy for finishing in last place in 1988 Olympic ski jumping events, wants to jump at a World Cup event on New Year’s Day. Edwards, who turned 50 on Thursday, wants to be a fore-jumper rather than an actual competitor at an event in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, as…
Dec 6, 2013, 10:10 AM EST
Yuna Kim stumbled out of one of three jumping passes in her competitive return from a foot injury but still posted her highest short program score since the Vancouver Olympics on Friday. The Olympic and world champion earned a 73.37 at the Golden Spin of Zagreb in Croatia. That’s higher than any woman’s short program…
Dec 6, 2013, 6:53 AM EST
Has Japan finally found the skater that can win the country its first gold medal in men’s figure skating? Yuzuru Hanyu just might be that man, the 18-year-old delivering a complete performance to capture the gold medal at the Grand Prix Final Friday in front of a home crowd, besting three-time world champion Patrick Chan.…
Dec 6, 2013, 5:31 AM EST
On rages the battle between the two best ice dance teams in the world. Friday at the Grand Prix Finals in Fukuoka, Japan, Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White squeaked out the narrowest of margins against rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, taking the lead after the short dance, 77.66 to 77.59. “Wow,” remarked White…
Dec 5, 2013, 6:01 PM EST
Nelson Mandela, who became South Africa’s first black president after spending 27 years in prison during an era of racial oppression, died at age 95 on Thursday. Mandela’s reach was global, in many aspects. Some of his most enduring images came with a backdrop of sports. He grew up an amateur boxer who admired the…
Dec 5, 2013, 1:46 PM EST
Curling officials want a mixed-gender event in the 2018 Olympics. “Mixed doubles is part of our sport that has taken off around the world,” World Curling Federation president Kate Caithness said, according to The Associated Press. Mixed doubles curling includes teams of one man and one woman, as opposed to the traditional four-person teams in the…
Dec 5, 2013, 1:00 PM EST
Ryan Lochte is swimming again, a little over one month after tearing an MCL and spraining an ACL when he said a fan ran into him. He plans to be “back in full swing” after Christmas, according to NBC Charlotte. A November report said he would resume training in February. “I feel like a little kid…
Dec 5, 2013, 12:43 PM EST
Lindsey Vonn will ski competitively for the first time in 10 months on Friday, less than three weeks after partially tearing her ACL in a training crash. The Olympic downhill champion said Thursday she’s “confident and excited” about racing in a World Cup downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta, according to The Associated Press. Vonn took her first…
Dec 5, 2013, 12:03 PM EST
Ron Burgundy is a connoisseur of the Winter Olympics. The Anchorman proved that on the “Dan Patrick Show” on Thursday, four days after commentating the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials. In the video above, Burgundy re-enacted Al Michaels‘ famous finishing lines from the “Miracle on Ice” game at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. For comparison’s sake, here’s Michaels’ call…
Dec 5, 2013, 11:29 AM EST
The first Olympic women’s ski jumping competition figures to be won by either Sara Takanashi or Sarah Hendrickson on Feb. 11. Japan’s Takanashi, 17, is the reigning World Cup champion. The American Hendrickson, 19, is the reigning world champion. Hendrickson is not a sure bet to compete in Sochi due to her knee injury, but when healthy they seem…
Dec 5, 2013, 10:24 AM EST
Tam Chua Puh, a 43-year-old pastry chef, turned in one of the more remarkable distance-running performances of the year when he was the first Singaporean to finish the Singapore Marathon on Sunday. Turns out, it was too good to be true. On Wednesday, Tam said he ran barely six kilometers of the 42-kilometer (26.2-mile) route,…
Dec 5, 2013, 9:58 AM EST
The Sochi Olympic torch relay, among other exploits, has included sled dogs and reindeer (and, it is expected, a dolphin). Add a camel to the list. A two-humped camel will carry an Olympic torch in the city of Chelyabinsk, the site above which a meteor exploded on Feb. 15. The Olympic torch relay is scheduled…
Dec 5, 2013, 9:23 AM EST
David Rudisha believes he can expand from the 800m, but not in the distance he’s talked about before. The Kenyan, both Olympic champion and world record holder in the two-lap race, is considering racing the 1500m before he retires. “I used to run 400m and through encouragement from my coach and friends, I committed myself to…
Dec 5, 2013, 8:17 AM EST
Lindsey Vonn is working her way back for Sochi, but it’s still unknown if Tiger Woods will be there in February. Woods was asked if he’s “making plans to be in Sochi” on Wednesday. “I think that’s just day to day,” Woods said at the Northwestern Mutual Challenge in Sherwood Oaks, Calif. “We just don’t know how her…
Dec 5, 2013, 7:20 AM EST
Mao Asada and Yuzuru Hanyu thrilled their home crowd Thursday in Fukuoka, Japan, the two Japanese skaters jumping out to healthy leads following their respective short programs at the Grand Prix Final. Hanyu, 18, delivered a world-record performance in his short, registering a score of 99.84 to build a healthy 12-point lead over Patrick Chan,…
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (54)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (45)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (29)
- Vladimir Putin tells critics of Russia at World University Games to ‘try some Viagra’ (18)
- IOC convinced there will be no discrimination at Sochi Olympics (16)