Gary Hunt Secures Gold With Perfect High Dive In Final Diving Event Of World Championships

By Erin Keaveny, Swimming World Contributor

Men’s 27-meter, the final diving event of the 18th FINA World Championships, took place this morning, July 24, 2019, in Gwangju, South Korea. In a thrilling finish, British diver Gary Hunt overtook American Steve LoBue in the fourth and final round. It was a story of redemption.

Merely two years ago, Hunt failed one of his signature twisters in the final round of the 2017 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. And after the heartbreaking and terrifying finish, there were rumors that Hunt was done.

It would be a devastating end to the most decorated male cliff diver of all time’s career. Hunt’s resume includes three World Championship medals, plus 72 Red Bull Cliff Diving competitions, 59 podium finishes and 34 victories. In 11 seasons, the veteran diver had not missed a single competition.

The prospect of him leaving the sport forever was shocking.

But, Hunt wasn’t quite ready to be done. He decided to give it one more try, with the caveat that he was no longer going to add twisters to his list. Despite the mental block, Hunt earned another win on the Red Bull circuit.

On Monday, at the 2019 World Championships, Hunt’s first dive landed him in fifth place. His next dive pushed him up to fourth. After round three, which took place this morning, he moved into third place. He was trailing by 27 points.

It seemed that LoBue had secured the win. He had been in first for the entire meet, and was headed into the final round with a big lead.

Then, something happened. Hunt’s final dive was perfect. It was the finish he was looking for two years ago, and it was a twister.

The dive was a back triple with four twists (5258D), a “triple quad.” It carries a 5.2 degree of difficulty, something only Hunt can pull off. It’s the same dive that almost marked the end of Hunt’s career two years ago.

That dive earned 10s from the judges and a total of 156.0 points. It landed Hunt back on the top of the podium. Redemption.

LoBue’s final dive, a back quad with two twists pike (5284B), has a slightly lower DD and only received 7s from the judges. His solid performance earned him a the silver medal.

Jonathan Paredes from Mexico won bronze, finishing only 3.5 points behind LoBue.

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