Splashing return: Orlando Duque back into cliff diving World Series
Diving from 27 meters! This might look insane but for these guys it is something they cannot live without.
It's already the fourth season the cream of the cliff diving crop put their stunning skills on show. The first of seven stops for the Red Bull World Series 2012 was the French island of Corsica with the pre-season favorites – the reigning champion Gary Hunt, last season's runner-up Artem Silchenko and the 2009 series winner Orlando Duque – in the spotlight.
Last year an injury forced the Colombian out of the competition but at this season's opener Duque proved he was back in the game. With clearly the best perfomance of the day the 37-year old claimed the first stage win and the 2012 series overall lead.
“I wanted to make a comeback at least with the same level I was at last year. Even though I wanted to win, I wasn't expecting it. I know the level keeps going up. Conditions were really tricky, but I was able to handle all that. So I'm really, really happy. I put a lot of time into preparing myself and it looks like I'm really coming back,” the winner said afterwards.
American Steven LoBue claimed his first World Series podium with second place with Czech Michal Navratil edging out Gary Hunt in the head-to-head round to finish third.
“I've been really practicing, confident doing a lot of mental training. And it seems it paid off as I'm a just a couple of points behind Orlando which is an incredible feeling,” the American said.
The third place man seemed satisfied as well.
“I'm extremely happy. It was the first competiton of the year, and it was very difficult. Everybody was trying to push themselves, trying some new dives, so I'm really happy that I finished in third place,” he said.
Russia's Artem Silchenko is one of those who tried to fine-tune his showcase and make it even more complicated adding one more twist to his famous arm stand dive. This resulted in some mistakes during the so-called blind entry into the water and left the Russian in eighth place.
But remember it was Silchenko who produced the most awesome high diving performance the sport has ever seen. The 28-year old claimed the highest scores in history to win last season's final stage in Ukraine.