First U.S. High Diving Platforms Open At Utah Olympic Park In Park City
PARK CITY, Utah — A new training platform at Utah Olympic Park has many in the diving community hoping that high diving will be included in future Olympics.
It’s amazing how a few seconds in the air can takes years to accomplish.
“This platform right here is my life dream,” said Ellie Smart. “I started diving when I was five-years-old.”
Smart is a high-diver on the U.S. Diving Team, but until Friday, the United States never had a high diving platform.
“Ten-meter diving was the highest,” said Smart.
Ten-meter diving is what you see at the Olympics. However, high diving is 20-meters for women and 27-meters, which is nearly 90-feet, for men.
Those distances have been made available for high divers to train in the United States, thanks to a new facility at Utah Olympic Park in Park City.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the high diving platforms Friday morning.
The US never had an official high diving platform for divers above 10 meters… until now. The ribbon cutting for this one is today at @UtahOlympicPark. It goes up to 27 meters (almost 90 feet!) We’re doing a story on this, with divers, for @KSL5TV at 6. pic.twitter.com/DSkaVht9uw
— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) July 9, 2021
The hope is for high diving to become an Olympic sport.
“We’re already in the FINA World Championships and the FINA World Cups,” said Smart. “We’re actually the first sold-out event at every world championship, so it’s there. People love to watch it.”
There’s something about seeing someone fall for three seconds and reaching speeds of about 50 miles an hour from the highest platform. Even just the view from that 27-meter platform makes many people cringe.
“I won’t go that high,” said Colin Hilton with a laugh.
Hilton is the CEO of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, which approved the building of these high-diving platforms.
Even if he wouldn’t jump form that high, Hilton said giving these athletes a place to train and chase their Olympic dreams is what the Foundation is all about.
“That’s at our core. We’re all about inspiring the youth in our community as well as the national team athletes and that whole spectrum in between,” said Hilton.
U.S. Diving would like to get high diving into the Paris 2024 Olympics as an exhibition sport, then Los Angeles 2028 as a medal sport.
This new facility helps.
“I still can’t believe, after all these years, we have something like this,” said Smart. “This really is going to help us progress so much faster and also stay up to speed with the other countries so we can continue to be a dominating force on the international scene.”
It’s another example of Utah continuing to use its facilities from the 2002 Games and looking to the future.