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26 Oct 1968
Mexico 1968

Dibiasi builds platform for success with first Olympic triumph

Carlo Dibiasi had finished tenth in the 1936 Olympics, but his son Klaus Dibiasi, was even more of a natural diver.

Born in Austria, his parents moved back to Italy when he was a child and it took very little time for his father to notice his promise as a diver. There was only one choice when it came to picking a coach – father Carlo took up the challenge. And he was a tough teacher.

Klaus trained six days a week, and on each of those days he practiced between 130 and 150 dives. He rapidly came to prominence in national championships (he was to end his career with 18 national titles – 11 on the platform and seven on the springboard) but he came to international prominence in 1964 at the age of 17. Klaus went home with a silver medal in the men's platform and a promising 13th place finish in the men's springboard. It was a hugely satisfying result for the sport in Italy but for the athlete himself – it was just the start of a remarkable run of success.
In Mexico, Dibiasi once again entered both competitions. He started off his campaign in the springboard and proved his improvement over the previous four years, finishing second in a tight battle that saw him edge out bronze medallist James Henry by fewer than two points.

Dibiasi's focus, though, was on the platform. He has won the European championship and the European Cup twice since the Tokyo Games and was many people's favourite, despite America's long-term dominance of the event. But the pressure was on him.

If he was feeling nervous, it didn't show. Dibiasi rose to the occasion with aplomb, leading the standings through qualifying and increasing his advantage as the competition went on. The gold came in comfortable and impressive style as he became the first Italian to win a Gold medal in a swimming or diving event.
It was the start of a great run. Dibiasi was to win the platform title at three Games in a row. He is still considered one of the greatest divers of all time.

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