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Diving became popular in Sweden and Germany in the 18th and 19th centuries. The sport was primarily practised by gymnasts who started performing tumbling routines into the water.
In the late 19th century a group of Swedish divers visited Great Britain. They put on diving displays that proved hugely popular and led to the formation of the first diving organisation, the Amateur Diving Association, in 1901.
Diving was included in the Olympic Games for the first time at the 1904 Games in St Louis. The springboard and platform events have been included since the 1908 Olympic Games in London. Since the Stockholm Games in 1912, women have taken part in the diving events.
The first Olympic competitions differed from those which exist nowadays, notably with respect to the height of the platforms and springboards. The diving programme has been relatively stable since the 1928 Games in Amsterdam: men and women take part in 10-metre high-dive and 3-metre springboard events. In 2000, the Sydney Games witnessed the entrance of synchronised diving on both the springboard and the platform.
This discipline was firstly dominated by the USA. This domination started to waiver with the participation of China at the end of the 1980s. When the American Greg Louganis, who is considered as the greatest diver ever, was still in competition, the Chinese managed to achieve some victories. Since Louganis retired, China has dominated the men’s events. Lately, China’s women divers have proved themselves unbeatable.
Diving, along with swimming, synchronised swimming and water polo, is one of the four disciplines governed by the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA).