back to top

Non-Athletes Tried Olympic High Diving And Things Didn't Go Well

Luckily, we had gold medalist Chris Mears coaching us along the way!

Posted on

Let's face it, diving is one of the COOLEST sports to watch during the Olympics. That's because the best of the best, like British gold medalist Chris Mears, make jumping off 3m boards (all while twisting and flipping) look downright easy. But how would non-athletes fare if given the same opportunity?

Luckily for us, Chris was willing to give us the pointers as to how to perfect our diving form...but it was up to us to stick the dives. We found out pretty quickly that jumping into diving is not that easy:

View this video on YouTube

Selorm: I didn't think it would be that hard. I had jumped off of a diving board before, but I definitely forgot how scary it was. I didn't think I would be a pro at it, but I thought I might do well. It seemed like all I had to do was jump correctly and I'd be fine. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Ricky: I was pretty confident I'd be able to do a flip by the end of the day. The 3m spring board [that's about 10 feet!] didn't look that high from the ground. I've always did backflips when I was kid off of our diving board at home, so I thought this would be fun!

Sam: I'm the type of person who can trip while standing still, so I knew learning to dive off a high board in one day would be a TALL ORDER (sorry for the pun). I was hoping for two things: That I wouldn't seriously injure myself, and that I would at least be able to nail a simple dive by the end of the day. Hey, if you set the bar low enough, you can never really fail.

Michelle: Before the challenge, I was feeling pretty confident. I didn't think that it would be too scary on the board, and I was more concerned about how my form and splash would look. Man, was I completely wrong about my expectations!

Selorm: The experience was fun, but also a little terrifying. Having Chris as a coach was great because he was funny and he helped us understand how to do the dives properly. Unfortunately, as soon as I got to the edge of the board, I forgot all of his wonderful training. It literally felt like I was falling from a three-story building.


Ricky: It ended up being really scary, but really exhilarating at the same time. The board doesn't look that high from the ground, but when you're actually standing on it, it's super intimidating — and it's wobbly! Chris was a great coach and really understood how to teach us. He had us go from the very basics to a proper dive. I appreciate that he just didn't try to make us do a dive right out of the gate.

BuzzFeed Motion Pictures

Sam: You know when you study hours for a really important test, but when you finally take the exam, it feels like all that knowledge has mysteriously evaporated from your brain? That's how diving was for me. Despite the fact I had a gold medalist giving me a lesson, as soon as I got to the top of the board, my mind immediately entered "Panic Mode" and I just tried to dive off the board as quickly as possible. Sorry, Chris!

BuzzFeed Motion Pictures

Michelle: I quickly realized that the height of the board appears much higher once you are on the edge of it. Chris was an amazing and supportive coach though, and did a great job explaining to us how to get in the different poses. Eventually, once I swallowed the fear of height, it was okay. However, I was surprised at how hard I hit the water. It's no joke!

BuzzFeed Motion Pictures

Selorm: I learned that diving is not as easy as it looks. It can be really scary, since there are so many things that you have to remember while falling through the air. I have so much respect for what divers do now — and I would try again, but I would definitely go into it knowing that I won't master it all in one day.

Ricky: I have a whole new respect for divers. I was impressed that Chris is able to be so graceful while he dives and now knowing how much confidence goes into that, I'm even more impressed. And I don't think I need to try this again — BUT I'll definitely do cannon balls all day long off.

Sam: I think it goes without saying that I walked away from the pool with a newfound respect for how much work Chris and other divers put into their craft (not to mention a bruised ego). While I'm proud of the fact I didn't belly-flop that hard, I think I'm going to stick to chilling on the side of the pool with a cocktail in hand. And let's just say I'm not going to be appearing on a Wheaties box any time soon.

Michelle: I totally understand now that in diving, your opponent is your nerves, and that is a very valid obstacle to overcome! It is absolutely way harder than I thought it would be, and I have a lot of respect for the amazing athletes who do it, especially after hearing Chris's story of sacrifice and hard work to make it to the Olympics.