DIVING: The Graceful Sport Is A Must-Watch At The Olympics

Beijing 2008 diving

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Craig Maccubin

The 2012 London Olympics are right around the corner, with the Games set to begin in late July.The world’s best athletes will be competing in 302 events in 26 different sports, ranging from canoeing to basketball to judo.

Leading up to the opening ceremony on July 27th, we’ll introduce you to some of the more obscure Olympic events. Today, it’s all about diving.

Diving is one of the oldest events at the Olympic Games, having made its debut in the 1904 Games in St. Louis.

There are four disciplines within diving at the Olympic Games, with men's and women's events for each: 3-meter springboard, 10-meter platform, synchronised 3-meter springboard and synchronised 10-meter platform.

A diver gets seven dives, and a group of judges grades based on starting positions, run-ups, take-offs, maneuvers performed in the air and smooth entry into water.

The United States leads all countries with 131 diving medals, but the vast majority of those medals were won before 1976. The sport has recently been dominated by the Chinese.

In synchronised competitions, divers are also judged on the level of synchronisation (and most are extremely precise).

In the platform competition, divers change up their take-off to achieve a higher level of difficulty. Here's an armstand back double somersault with 1.5 twists.

All diving events will be held in the London Aquatics Centre, a brand new building constructed for the Olympics.

A look at the 10-meter platform and 3-meter springboard inside the London Aquatics Centre.

David Boudia is one American expected to threaten the Chinese and possibly win a medal in London, after finishing second in the 10-meter platform competition at the 2011 World Championships.

Check out who else you should be watching this summer.

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