Orlando Duque Blog - Part 6: A Crazy Finish

Jonathan Paredes
Colombian legend elated for champion Paredes at season finale in Lago Ranco

Hey everyone,

The final Red Bull Cliff Diving event is always interesting especially with such a beautiful setting like here at the Riñinahue waterfalls in Chile. Rhiannan (Iffland) didn't have a very good Friday and the men didn't dive the first day at all because the weather was so bad.

On Saturday, almost everybody at Lago Ranco thought Gary (Hunt) had the title in his pocket. We thought Gary had to be ninth and Jonny (Paredes) had to win but we got our calculations wrong.

Jonny hit his most difficult dive in the third round that put him way ahead, but Gary was there still. For the last dive, though, Gary had to do the one that he has been struggling with throughout the season. I think it was better for Jonny to think that Gary had won already. It kept him more calm. It was a crazy finish.

New World Series champion Jonathan Paredes dives during the final rounds of the season in Lago Ranco, Chile. Photo: Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool.

Even in the women's competition there was some drama with Adriana (Jimenez) not being able to compete and Rhiannan not even being able to walk properly a couple of weeks ago.

Helena (Merten) did really good. I don't know what happened on her third dive, but I think it was too much pressure and she completely missed it. It cost her a better placing, but she was pushing Rhiannan in the last dive and forced Rhiannan to do such a great job.

Brave Rhiannan Iffland battled through the pain to once again win the King Kahekili Trophy. Photo:  Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool.

I did not even think Rhiannan would be able to compete as she could not do any training, but she did four awesome dives. I told her that it was amazing to do that under that kind of pressure. She had to have her knees strapped heavily. She just needed her knees to be straight and strong for that one moment during the dive. She was limping away at the end.

I finished ninth overall in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series and ninth in the world rankings with the top 10 qualifying for 2018 so it looks like I am in for next year.

I'll see what I can do now in the off season. Ideally I will work on my existing dives as I know that when I do them well I can win. If I manage to create a strong enough programme where I can get a little faster and stronger then I could add something. Focus on quality.

Duque finished the season in 9th place and will attempt to come back stronger in 2018. Photo: Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool.

When there is a new dive like Jonny had this year it is always playing in your head during training or free time. At the beginning Jonny was worried about it and the execution, but the more he trained and used it in competition the more it became natural for him.

For many years some people joked that Jonny was doing dives that were too easy but his focus has been technique, elegance and making sure the dives are shown in the proper way. It has been a nice progression the last few years in the standings from third place to runner-up and now champion and I know next year he will probably do more difficult dives.

I am really proud of him for his work ethic and to see him grow as he's got married, bought his house, moved to Spain and finally win. It is great and he deserves it. Everything aligned on Saturday. I am so happy for him.

Gary's mistake just shows that he is human. For many years we thought he wasn't! Trust me I've been up there and it's been hard to keep it together. What happened on Saturday is a mistake. The main thing is that the mistake didn't turn into an accident or an injury.

We now have a meeting about our new 2018 schedule and it looks like I will be in Europe around the football World Cup in Russia to see Colombia play for one or two games. Take care everyone and thanks for reading!


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