When Gary Hunt arrived today at the high diving venue of the FINA World Championships 2019 in Gwangju (KOR), he probably had one question in his mind. “How will I succeed in my ‘triple quad’”?
The “triple quad” refers to Hunt’s favorite combination, a back 3 somersaults, with 4 twists in the free position – in the diving numbering, it’s simply a 5268D. This is a magic combination for the British star: with it, he won competitions; with it, he also lost. The most notable case was the 2017 edition of the World Championships in Budapest, two years ago.
We had to wait until the fourth and last round of the competition to know the answer to that question in Hunt’s mind. But the reply couldn’t be clearer: with three perfect 10s from the judges, in a dive with a DD of 5.2, it’s easy to do maths: 30 by 5.2 equals 156.00 points. The maximum possible. The number of perfection. The score that allowed Hunt to recover the world crown, after the 2015 gold in Kazan and the unsuccessful performance on the shore of the Danube River two years ago.
Before that, Steve LoBue (USA), world champion in 2017, seemed secure in the lead. He finished first on Monday, with a 8.85 advantage over Jonathan Paredes (MEX) and over 24 ahead from Michal Navratil (CZE). Came round three today and LoBue remained confident and flawless, performing also a 5461B, slightly worse than Hunt (95.40 for the North American, 97.20 for the British ace). In the last round, closing the field, LoBue was slightly short in the entry of his back 4 somersaults, 2 twists, getting 119.85 from the judges. That wasn’t enough to secure the gold, after Hunt’s massive score. In the end, LoBue had to content with silver, in 433.65.
The bronze went to Jonathan Paredes, second after the first three rounds, but presenting a last dive with a lower DD (“only” 4.6). Despite executing an almost perfect back 3 somersaults, 3 twists, the 128.80 points for this dive were short to get the silver. The Mexican, bronze medal in Barcelona 2013 and silver in Kazan 2015, finished third in 430.15.