Comeback Wins for Hunt and Richard in Sisikon

Gary Hunt and Lysanne Richard
Winners end struggles in front of thousands of sun-soaked fans in Switzerland

Six-time champion Gary Hunt from England and Canada's mum-of-three Lysanne Richard made an emotional return to form at the fourth stop of the 2018 World Series, both scoring stunning victories to put a difficult 12 months well and truly behind them.

Hunt, who had faced the first crisis of his career due to a mental block, was back to his twisting best to grab a much-needed win ahead of Mexico's Jonathan Paredes in second place and American Andy Jones in third, while hat-trick chasing Steven LoBue (USA) could only finish sixth on a scorching day at Lake Lucerne.

Richard, who missed the entire 2017 season with a neck injury, followed up her third place in Portugal three weeks ago by powering to victory ahead of Australia's Rhiannan Iffland in second and the increasingly impressive British wildcard Jessica Macaulay in third in front of a sold-out crowd on boats, kayaks and inflatables.

The 34-year-old brilliant Brit lived up to his nickname and plucked out a pair of excellent twisting dives from the 27m platform - one forward, one back - to edge ahead of Paredes, the man who snatched the title from him last season. It was the reigning champion from Mexico who came close to his first season victory with a near perfect execution of his final dive – five-times 9.5 from judges with the highest note possible being a ten – finishing a mere 4.3pts behind the record winner. The Englishman now has 31 victories out of 69 competitions to his name, repeating his win from 2010 in this location.

"This is not the old Gary Hunt," said the Brit. "Today it was a different man, Gary 2.0. But I'm happy I did what I did, did what I needed to do. I left it very close and Jonny (Paredes) almost took me on my last dive. I'm very happy to get back on top of the podium.

"Once you have a mental block it never really goes away; you just learn to deal with it and you grow from it. I definitely haven't completely solved the problem, I still have work to do on single twists and double twists, but I definitely have worked hard enough to be able to do what I did today."

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Gary Hunt rediscovered his twisting magic to earn a first victory since September 2017 in the Sisikon sunshine. Photo: Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool.

With a poor execution of his tried and tested Back Triple-Triple, back-to-back winner LoBue lost his chance of becoming only the third man to win a hat-trick in the history of the World Series. Fellow-American Jones put an injury-plagued few months behind him with his return to the podium after seven competitions across seasons.

In the overall standings, the season's two-time winner LoBue still leads after four of an overall seven events, while 28-year-old Paredes moved up from 5th to 2nd place, and Hunt made a huge leap forward from 8th to 3rd.

Over in the women's it was 36-year-old Richard, who took not only her third World Series victory, but put an exclamation mark on her extraordinary fighting spirit from the 21m platform after a year of uncertainty. A neck injury didn't allow her to train, let alone compete, for all of the 2017 season. Today, the ever-smiling Canadian was flanked by two-time champion Iffland, who gave away a safe win with a mediocre final round, and wildcard Macaulay, the first British female, who earned her second podium in four showings.

"It was so emotional to win here today," said Richard. "I couldn't stop crying. I'm really emotional because of everyone who helped me come back. Just being back was already a big win, not even winning. I was lucky today, had a good competition and I'm really grateful for all the help that I got and all the love I receive."

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An overwhelmed Lysanne Richard celebrates on the women's podium after her emotional victory. Photo: Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool.

After three of five women's competitions, it's the Australian record winner Iffland who overtakes today's fifth placed Jimenez from Mexico in the overall standings. Completing the leader board after today's win, Richard lives up to her role as a title contender and spices up the fight at the top.

From the sun-baked and idyllic village of Sisikon in the very heart of Switzerland, the male cliff diving elite will perform their aesthetic three-second free falls in to the season's most northern venue in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the next stop in three weeks' time.

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