Orlando Duque Blog - Part 5: No Retirement

Orlando Duque
Colombian legend determined to fight on despite latest injury setback

Hey everyone,

Another tough competition for me. Two worst results I have had in my career. My shoulder still hurts. My arm and left side gets numb as soon as I hit the water, so I am swimming with only one arm back to shore.

I have an appointment with the specialist this week, so I will have an MRI or scan then make a rehabilitation plan. I have five weeks now when I can go home and be ready for Chile. Should be enough time to recover fully, even if the cold lake conditions in Chile are not ideal. I don't want to have a forced retirement right now. I want the last word. I want a few more seasons.

Mostar is a town that lives for diving. There is over 450 years of diving tradition from the bridge competitions and exhibitions. It has been destroyed and rebuilt, and they keep doing it. Even the local divers know the standings and who is doing what dives so that is really cool. It is a nice atmosphere overall.

Duque endured a tough weekend in Mostar, a place he says 'feels like home'. Photo: Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool.

It was a little bit windy on the bridge and we were very exposed. It also rained quite a lot. They kept opening the dam up the river to release some of the water. It is not only the water level changing, but the amount of current in the river. You have to adjust.

Because Gary, Steven and Jonny know they have a shot at winning the World Series, they really had to stay focused. Gary was having troubles with his dive, but it worked out really well. Nothing fazes Gary. He is in a tough spot and then he does the big dives again and wins. Calm and collected at the moment of pressure and danger, even after an accident like Sergio Guzman's.

Steven also did really good. Jonny did a little mistake that put him back in the final round, but he is still in the running overall. This is when everybody starts making their moves for the title and qualifying for 2018 because only the top six qualify automatically.

Duque receives some treatment from the athletes' physio, Angela Passenbrunner, during the stop in Mostar. Photo: Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool.

It is unreal for Nikita to get a podium. It shows how the sport has been progressing. He has been competing in other events but, for a first Red Bull competition in a different format, he did great. Even in training he looked good. I am really happy for him.

He is very young and one of those guys that will be the future of the sport. Being on the podium will motivate him even more for next season. He did his most difficult dive in the third round, so the pressure was relieved in the final round with a more comfortable dive.

It was crazy what happened to Sergio. From the beginning I knew he was in trouble. The take-off wasn't that good, so you knew he would struggle during the dive. That can be fixed, but he made a small mistake at the bottom so he couldn't finish the rotation.

Normally we hit the water and when we go under there is a pocket of air and eventually we float up on our own but in the river, the current takes you down. He was underwater and the scuba divers had to find him.

They did a super job, because within 10 seconds they brought him out. Before they took him on the boat, he gave us the thumbs up so that means you are in pain but you are breathing and OK. I have not had an entry that extreme. I bruised my ribs really bad and it is hard to breathe for a few days, but it comes with the job.

Injuries are part of the job, says the Colombian, and he's determined not to bow out for a few more seasons yet. Photo: Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool.

Alessandro is a very good friend of Sergio and he was diving straight after. Jonny was up on the bridge talking with Alessandro, trying to get him in the right focus to go back to diving. He put it aside for a few seconds, did a great dive then worried about his friend afterwards.

Heading into this next break, I am going to Colombia's football game on October 6 against Paraguay. If we win that, we qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

It was fun to see them live against Brazil recently. They played really good for a 1-1 draw. Good defence on Neymar Jr. He can do great things in one second, so they defended him really good. Davinson Sanchez did a great job. We have a really strong, young team.

I follow cycling big time too. Cycling is huge in Colombia. Last year I was at the arrival for the Tour de France in Paris when Nairo Quintana came third. I am always in contact with some of the guys that are racing. I wake up early in Colombia and watch the whole stage.

I am friends with Nairo as we have been nominated for Colombian Sportsman of the Year. He has won it, and he is such a nice and humble person. If I write to him, he writes back. Good example for Colombians.

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