skip to content
30 Aug 1960
Rome 1960

Unknown Krämer shocks the world with diving clean sweep

Divers from the USA had won both the women's springboard and platform events at the Olympic Games stretching back to 1924. It was one of the most enduring records in Games history. In fact, American women had taken gold and silver in all but one of those contests, and had racked up a number of podium clean-sweeps.

There was another curious record. At the previous three Games, the same woman had won both the platform and springboard events: Vicki Draves in 1948 and then Pat McCormick in 1952 and 1956. This time, the USA was represented by Paula Jean Pope, who had won medals at the past two Games, and was now looking to emulate the achievements of her compatriots. However, she was to face stronger competition than almost anyone had predicted.

Germany's Ingrid Krämer was only 17 years old, the second youngest diver in the field, and few of her rivals knew much about her. Perhaps that helped calm her nerves, for Krämer immediately took to the Olympic environment with complete ease. She went into the early lead in the springboard and never looked back, eventually taking gold by a comfortable margin over Pope. The USA's winning streak had come to a dramatic end.

A few days later came the platform, and Pope's opportunity to make up for her defeat. Once again, Krämer was a relatively unknown quantity in the event – the question was whether her brilliance on the springboard could translate to the greater height of the platform.

The answer was an emphatic “yes”. She led by 1.6 points after qualifying and extended that advantage in the final, eventually taking gold by more than 2.3points. For the fourth Games in a row, a woman had done the diving double but this time, to everyone’s surprise, the titles had not gone to an American.

Krämer would return to the Olympic arena four years later, successfully defending her springboard gold but coming second in the platform. Pope, meanwhile finished her Olympic career with three silvers and a bronze, but no gold medal.

Tags Rome 1960
back to top