The winning streaks of Britain's Gary Hunt and wildcard Rhiannan Iffland from Australia came to a dramatic end in Polignano a Mare on Sunday afternoon, following a climactic final, which ended with Artem Silchenko and Canada's Lysanne Richard celebrating on top of the podium in front of an enthusiastic 70,000 spectators. It was Silchenko's first win since 2014, courtesy of an amazing final round dive, while mother of three Richard grabbed her first ever victory with three superb dives from 21.5m. Steven LoBue and Jonathan Paredes finished second and third in the men's 27m event, with Iffland and Rachelle Simpson completing the women's podium. Gary Hunt, who was aiming for his fourth consecutive win, failed to make the final round for only the third time in his career.
While the Brit only finished on a 10th place, the 2013 World Series champion Artem Silchenko came back strong after a month of no diving and 23 months after his last victory. A little shorter was Steven LoBue's podium dry spell as the American made it onto the podium for the first time since his win in Bilbao in 2015. Going into the final round as the leader was Mexican Jonathan Paredes, who reduces the gap to the overall leader Gary Hunt with the fourth podium finish in five competitions to sit in a strong second place going into the second half of the season.
With today's victory in the European home of cliff diving, 32-year-old Silchenko cut down his overall lag to half and is now in fifth place, tied with the absent Czech Michal Navratil, who's recovering from a knee surgery and will come back at the next stop in Wales.
"I'm really happy," said Silchenko, "because I haven't been on the podium for a long time. I don't even talk about the victory. Yes, I dived well today and my last handstand started to work again and with this dive I made the first place today."
In the women's it was Canadian Lysanne Richard who dived to her first ever World Series victory following a strong first day of competition in her favourite cliff diving location. After pocketing the 2016 FINA world cup earlier this year, the 34-year-old is the 4th female to dominate an event and the one athlete to stop the 'rocking rookie' from Australia. Wildcard Rhiannan Iffland has taken the World Series by surprise and won the first two stops she's ever competed in. Today she finished second ahead of two-time overall champion Rachelle Simpson. The American celebrated her first podium since last September when she was crowned champion in this location.
"It's great to dive here," said an overjoyed Richard. "The crowd is amazing; the people are super nice, we really feel all the community together with us. It's really impressive and the visuals are perfect and the water is perfect. Good conditions to do good dives."
After three of seven stops for the women, the overalls are still led by Iffland, followed by today's winner Richard and another Australian on third, rookie Helena Merten.
When the World Series travels to Wales in two weeks' time, it will be a debut for the women in Pembrokeshire's Blue Lagoon, where Gary Hunt will be ready to strike back on home soil on September 11.
The live replay of the Polignano a Mare 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 8am (ET) on September 25.