Diving into water from a great height is something that has been done since the dawn of civilisation. The first records of diving as a sport, however, date back to the 18th and 19th centuries in Sweden and Germany, as gymnasts started to perform acrobatic stunts before entering rivers or swimming pools.
The discipline gained popularity in the late 19th century, when a group of Swedes visited Great Britain and showed off some diving acrobatics to great acclaim. The result was the foundation of the first diving organisation in 1901 – now incorporated by the International Swimming Federation (known by French acronym FINA). Ten years later, in 1891, the first official rules were established.
It did not take long for diving to join the Olympic programme, with a men´s competition debuting in 1904 at the St. Louis Games. Women began competing at the 1912 Games in Stockholm.
The first Olympic diving competitions were very different from how they are now. The St. Louis Games featured simple dives, with the springboard and diving platform only introduced at the Paris 1908 Games.
The programme became established definitively at the Amsterdam 1928 Games, where men and women competed in dives from springboards at heights of 3 metres and 10 metres. The next big change came 72 years later when synchronised dives were introduced, from both the springboard and platform, at the Sydney 2000 Games.
In Olympic diving, technical factors are assessed for each jump, giving athletes points that deterime their final classification.