Champion Gary Hunt (511.60 points) made it four wins out of four in the 2015 edition of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series on Saturday. The Brit finished ahead of compatriot Blake Aldridge (476.85) and Colombian cliff diving legend Orlando Duque (463.60) to take the win in Copenhagen.
Can anyone beat the World Series champion? That's the question many were asking after the 31-year-old Hunt delivered yet another display of near cliff diving perfection. On this evidence the answer was an emphatic 'No!'
Blake Aldridge and Orlando Duque were the two athletes who pushed the champion the closest, as 14 of the world's best cliff divers leapt 28 metres from the roof of the Copenhagen Opera House.
"This win's a good one because I wasn't feeling especially confident when I got here, but I was gradually gaining confidence as every day passed," said Hunt, who followed up victories in Colombia, France and the USA earlier this season with another maximum haul of 200 World Series points in Copenhagen to extend his lead at the top of the overall rankings.
"What keeps me performing at this level? Popping the champagne on the podium's pretty nice! Seriously, I love what I'm doing. It would be crazy not to try and win every event. I'm loving the position that I'm in. I've been training hard for it – it's a passion for me and that's not going to change."
Orlando Duque was pleased to extend his own 100 percent record of finishing on the podium at all four World Series events this year with a third-placed finish in Denmark, but admits that the lower Degree of Difficulty means he cannot compete with an in-form Gary Hunt.
"Gary is a full point of DD ahead of me and that's a big difference. But he's also diving great, and that makes it even more difficult," said Duque. "I could have done better with my last dive today and might have made second. But I'm fairly happy with what I've got. Third place against the way these guys are performing is not too bad right now. I keep talking about putting pressure on Gary, but it seems like nothing fazes him. That said, it's great to see a diver take the sport to that level – if you asked any other high diver before if that was possible they would have said no, but he's doing it."
Russia's Artem Silchenko, who won here in Copenhagen in 2013 with the highest-scoring World Series dive to date, did not even reach the eight-diver final after losing his head-to-head battle against Ukrainian wildcard Anatoliy Shabotenko. There was also disappointment for David Colturi whose complex dives were not enough to beat the diving grace of Mexico's Jonathan Paredes.
The next leg on the eight-stop World Series takes the divers to the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores on July 18...
"To others it may seem like there's no stopping me," said Hunt, "but the next competition is the Azores... I didn't even make the final there last year, so I've got some unfinished business with that event."