If you already thought diving was hella impressive, wait until you get a load of this. On average, an athlete diving from the 10-meter platform enters the water at a speed of nearly 40 mph — which, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, can exert enough force to break bones and dislocate joints. Meaning, those beautiful dives you watch during the Olympics require both an enormous amount of strength and some necessary precautions.
Competitive divers enter the water with their hands flat, palms down, in order to create the perfect pocket for their body to follow. This is an important element of the scoring — with a successful dive, you’ll see just a small hiccup of water as the diver enters the water, instead of a splash.
While breathtaking to watch, these flat-hand entries can cause repetitive injuries, if the proper safety precautions aren’t taken. The most common one you’ll see at the Olympics is wrist guards. In a TikTok from USA Diving, 10-meter diver Brandon Loschiavo explained that he wears wrists guards to prevent his wrists from going “too far back,” adding that without them, he could run the risk of a developing a serious injury, like a fracture. Just more proof that this sport is not for the faint of heart!
To learn more about all the Olympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics this summer on NBC.