With today's victory in front of an enthusiastic 70,000 fans, 32-year-old Gary Hunt completed a remarkable comeback at the fourth stop of the 2016 World Series in the historic setting of La Rochelle, France. Trailing in 12th position after two rounds, the Brit turned things around in his adopted home with an almost flawless display of diving from the 27m-platform in the final rounds, including the hardest dive in the world. American Andy Jones made it two 2nd place finishes on the bounce with another consistent performance in the Series' birthplace. Michal Navratil (CZE), third at the first event of the season in Texas, completed the podium once again at the spot where he finished runner-up back in 2011. Going into a five weeks' summer break, the overall standings still feature Jonathan Paredes in 2nd place behind Hunt, although the Mexican missed out on a top-three finish for the first time this season.
"It's a worthy gamble I'm willing to play", Gary Hunt said in the days ahead of the competition from the daunting Saint Nicolas Tower in the Bay of Biscay. It was only the second time he showed the world's most difficult dive – a front 3 somersaults with 4 ½ twists free – in competition in front of 70,000 spectators. He mastered it for 9s from the judges, with 10 being the highest possible score, and propelled himself from 12th place after two dives to his third consecutive win.
While the 5-time overall winner is more or less a usual suspect on the podium – with 28 wins in 54 stops – Czech's Michal Navratil and California-based Andy Jones are rather the surprise improvers of the season. Both have now two podiums in four competitions to their names and are hard on the Brit's heels.
After three podiums in three competitions, Mexico's Jonathan Paredes could not live up to his nickname 'ripping machine' in this World Series classic and finished only 6th. The 26-year-old still sits in second place overall, but the British champion goes into the 5-weeks' break with a comfortable lead. In third position after today's 2nd place is Andy Jones. The American has never been better placed in the overall standings during his 5 years in the World Series.
From the historic setting in La Rochelle, the World Series travels to Italy's Polignano a Mare, where the 5th stop will host the male and female cliff diving elite on August 28.
1 - Gary Hunt (GBR) - 507.40
2 - Andy Jones (USA) - 484.65
3 - Michal Navratil (CZE) - 484.25
4 - Kris Kolanus (POL) (W) - 471.75
5 - Orlando Duque (COL) - 468.00
6 - Jonathan Paredes (MEX) - 463.10
7 - Steven LoBue (USA) - 435.35
8 - Sergio Guzman (MEX) - 368.00
9 - David Colturi (USA) - 302.50
10 - Jucelino Junior (BRA) (W) - 289.90
11 - Viktar Maslouski (BLR) (W) - 275.40
12 - Artem Silchenko (RUS) - 247.30
13 - Cyrille Oumedjkane (FRA) (W) - 232.60
The live replay of the La Rochelle event is available now on www.redbullcliffdiving.com and Red Bull TV. Red Bull TV is available on connected TVs, gaming consoles, mobile devices and more. Find out more at about.redbull.tv
Note that the replay is geo-blocked in the US due to an exclusive broadcast deal with FOX Sports. The event will air on FS1 at 1pm (ET) on August 21.