The 1976 Olympics Games in Montreal saw the changing of the guard in men’s diving with Italian Klaus Dibiasi casting a golden hue over his spectacular reign in the platform event.
The Austrian-born Dibiasi completed his hat-trick of gold medals in the Olympic Pool at Montreal’s Olympic Park with a convincing victory over American Greg Louganis.
Louganis went on to win gold in Los Angeles in 1984 and Seoul in 1988, and but for the US boycott of the 1980 Games in Moscow he may well have claimed a hat-trick of his own.
Dibiasi first burst onto the Olympic scene in 1964 when he finished runner-up to the American Bob Webster just days after his 17th birthday.
Indeed the Italian had strong hopes of victory until Webster finished with a late burst to retain the title he had first won in Rome four years earlier.
At Mexico City 1968, Dibiasi’s supremacy was never in doubt, as he finished the preliminary round in first place before recording a handsome victory ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Gaxiola.
He was no less dominant in Munich four years later, building a big enough cushion in the preliminary round to be able to relax in the final, where a fourth best score was still enough for him to hold on to gold.
The 16-year-old prodigy Louganis was to be his biggest threat at Montreal 1976 and when the young American topped the rankings in the preliminary round there was a whiff of a major upset.
However, Dibiasi, nicknamed “the Chairman of the Board”, put in a superbly consistent closing sequence of dives to secure victory from Louganis by 600.51 points to 576.99.
He remains the only diver to have won three successive Olympic gold medals, and thanks to his gold and silver in the platform and springboard at Mexico City 1968 is also the only diver to boast an overall tally of five medals.