Few things in sports are as astounding as witnessing an Olympic diver perform. The sheer athleticism they show and the speed in which they show it is marveling. They can travel and maneuver the water in an amazing way that is quite interesting to watch.
For this list of the best divers in Olympic history, we look at some of the best male divers in history. There really hasn’t been much to celebrate in recent years; gone are the days of Sammy Lee and Greg Louganis. The US team has also not reached the podium since the 1996 medal from Mark Lenz.
There are, however, plenty of fresh-faced new divers who are young and eager, which means that we will soon start seeing plenty of medals from these athletes. In the meantime, here’s our list of some of the best male divers in Olympic history.
1. Greg Louganis
First on our list is The Great Greg Louganis, as he is known. He won five medals, four of them being gold medals, in just three Olympic Games. This feat made his name synonymous with diving. At 16 years old, he participated in the 1976 Montreal games, where he gave the fans a taste of what he was made of. This is where he took home the silver medal.
Eight years later, he returned during the Los Angeles Olympic Games and won two gold medals in the 3-meter and the 10-meter platforms. His performance cemented him as an Olympic Lore, but he was still not finished yet. In 1988, during the Games in Seoul, he repeated his great performance and once again won two gold medals, 12 years after the first Olympics he had participated in.
He even shocked the world in 1994, when he revealed to have been HIV positive since the 88’ game. Greg Louganis is our number one athlete in our list of the best male divers in Olympic history.
2. Sammy Lee
Sammy Lee is a heavy hitter in US diving history. He is at the number two spot on our list. He was born in Fresno and is of Korean descent. He competed in two games for the US and was the first-ever Asian to win a gold medal for the US team. He won two gold medals in the 10-meter and 3-meter springboards. In both the 52’ and 48’ Olympic Games, when America was still dealing with WWII aftermath, Lee took the world by storm by winning gold in both the Olympic Games in Helsinki and London.
3. Mark Lenzi
Mark Lenzi is high on our list because he won two Olympic Medals. He won these medals on separate occasions during the Olympic Games which is quite difficult. He gave America a gold in 92’ during the 3-meter springboard and again during the Barcelona games.
He holds the title for the first ever 100 point scorer and also the first man to ever complete a 4.5 somersault-tuck in a competition. Sadly, he passed way too soon, on April 9TH 2012; he was only 43 years old. Many people consider him the best diver of all time.
4. Phil Boggs
Phil Boggs took a medal during the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, where he competed in the 3-meter springboard. He is a native of Ohio, and the only issue here is that he has only won one Gold medal. However, he is an astute athlete who deserves a place on the list of the best divers.
His story is also tragic because, in his late 30s, he was diagnosed with Lymphoma and lived only until his 40th Birthday. He passed away in 1990, five years after he was inducted in the swimming hall of fame.
Kimball has one of the most interesting life stories of any diver on this list. This is because, when he was 18 years old, he was involved in an accident with a drunk driver and broke every single bone in his face. He also suffered a skull and leg fracture. His injuries also caused him to lose his spleen.
The next year, he had recovered and he took a bronze medal during the 1982 Olympic Games. He then went on a comeback tour that lasted two years. He won the silver medal with a 10-meter platform during the Los Angeles Games, just three years since his terrible crash.
However, things did not end for Kimball. While he was attempting to compete in the Olympic Games in 1988, he was involved in yet another drunk driving accident. This time, he was at fault. Unfortunately, he spent five years in prison for this offense.
These are some of the best male divers in Olympic history. There are certainly great competitors in diving nowadays, but we cannot forget these great athletes.