Oleksiy Prygorov

Ukraine

Oleksiy Prygorov

Ukraine

Lele Kawa, the Hawaiian expression for 'leaping feet first from a high cliff into water without making a splash', nowadays called cliff diving, proves to challenge even the best. Oleksiy Prygorov, a 2008 Olympic bronze-medallist from the 3m springboard (synchro), had to start from the low side of the pool when he first switched to high diving.

"First of all, my aim was to make it into the top 10 of the World Series, but after my second competition I realised it was a really difficult, tiring and dangerous sport."

Four stops over the last two seasons later, the 31-year-old performed best of those who hadn't already qualified at the FINA High Diving World Cup in November – finishing in third place – to earn an automatic promotion to the 10-man permanent line-up for the 2019 season.

"Now, I'm just thinking about safe dives and enjoying it. All the guys push you and support you. I love it. It's my second life."