Hunt and Simpson win Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series stop in Polignano a Mare, Italy, on September 13, 2015.
The 31-year-old Englishman pulled off five 10s in three rounds of competition and finished with a running take-off and a personal best of 548.20 points, making it six out of seven victories this season. On his heels in the penultimate stop as well as in the overall standings is Colombia’s Orlando Duque in second, closely followed by Jonathan Paredes from Mexico only 2.45 points behind.
In the 2015 Women’s World Series American Rachelle Simpson defended her overall title by taking her second victory in three competitions in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 55,000 Italian cliff diving aficionados.
With an immaculate display of dives, Gary Hunt, the season’s dominating athlete, scored highest in each of the day’s three rounds and bettered his own point record by 14.30 points to hit an all-time high score of 548.20 points. Literally skipping to first place, the ‘brilliant Brit’ settled old scores with the venue in Italy’s south by successfully performing a running take-off – a technique that only he has ever attempted.
The World Series’ most experienced athlete – 41-year-old Orlando Duque (480.20pts.) – secured this year’s fifth podium finish on second to keep his closest competitor in check. Mexico’s style master Jonathan Paredes (477.85pts.) defied the odds of the final round’s lowest degree of difficulty by completing the podium in Italy.
Over in the women’s World Series, all questions were answered in today’s final when America’s Rachelle Simpson (241.60pts.) secured her second season victory ahead of fellow American Ginger Leigh Huber (231.40pts.) and Yana Nestsiarava (209.50pts.) from Belarus to retain the overall title. USA women – Simpson, Leigh Huber and wildcard Cesilie Carlton, occupy the final podium in the 2015 Red Bull Cliff Diving Women’s World Series.
While the women closed their season in Europe’s mecca of cliff diving this weekend, the male cliff diving elite travels to Spain’s Bilbao, where the fight in the overall rankings gets tighter as only the season’s best six athletes will be granted a permanent spot in a 2016 Series. Behind the leading trio of Hunt, Duque and Paredes, five athletes are battling it out, with Andy Jones (530pts.) sitting in the longed for sixth spot. Can Russia’s Artem Silchenko (410pts.), the leader after the seeding round, or Czech’s Michal Navratil (400pts.) push the American off his position in the final stop of the 2015 season?
All will be revealed in Bilbao with the coronation of the season’s best athletes during the World Series’ 50th stop in two weeks’ time.
QUOTES FROM THE WINNERS
“I’m just ecstatic. The last dive that I did in Polignano a few years ago was the only dive I’ve ended up in hospital after. When the calendar came out for this season I knew I had to finish that business from 5 years ago and do a running dive again. Thankfully it worked out, and to finish on a high note is amazing.”
“I had a bad warm-up actually, so my first thought when I hit the water was ‘okay, I had a good entry.’ There was a bit of relief, I knew I was a little short, but I thought it was going to be enough, so I was really excited. Winning the World Series once again seems unreal to me. I think it’s just about being consistent. I might not do be doing the best dives of the whole competition, but all three together are being consistent and I think that’s the magic number right now.”
Results Stop 7, Polignano a Mare
1. Gary Hunt | UK | 548.20pts.
2. Orlando Duque | COL | 480.30
3. Jonathan Paredes | MEX | 477.85
4. Michal Navratil | CZE | 463.85
5. Andy Jones | USA | 461.45
6. Blake Aldridge | UK | 456.95
7. Artem Silchenko | RUS | 399.00
8. Kris Kolanus (wildcard) | POL | 325.25
9. David Colturi | USA | 313.70
10. Steven LoBue | USA | 310.55
11. Alessandro De Rose (wildcard) | ITA | 305.80
12. José Wilker (wildcard) | BRA | 270.95
13. Sergio Guzman (wildcard) | MEX | 265.30
14. Jucelino Junior | BRA | 216.70
1. Rachelle Simpson | USA | 241.60pts.
2. Ginger Leigh Huber | USA | 231.40
3. Yana Nestsiarava (wildcard) | BLR | 209.50
4. Cesilie Carlton (wildcard) | USA | 200.15
5. Anna Bader | GER | 196.65
6. Lysanne Richard (wildcard) | CAN | 196.20
7. Jacqueline Valente (wildcard) | BRA | 186.80
8. Adriana Jimenez | MEX | 183.90
FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS, Women (after 3 competitions)
1. Rachelle Simpson | USA | 490pts.
2. Ginger Leigh Huber | USA | 450
3. Cesilie Carlton (wildcard) | USA | 400
4. Anna Bader | GER | 310
5. Lysanne Richard (wildcard) | CAN | 290