Orlando Duque, the highly decorated cliff diving legend, tasted victory for the first time in four years at the second stop of the 2017 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in São Miguel, Azores. Here he continues his season blog, with a new instalment coming after each of the six stops this year.
It was a tough competition here in São Miguel with five or six guys that could have won going in to that last dive, because the third round was horrible.
Everybody just kept dropping bombs. Boom! Boom! Boom! I don't know if it was the height or something else. We were all making some mistakes, but we pulled it together for the final round.
The podium was pretty clear. Gary Hunt was a little bit injured and having a hard time, but he came back really strong. Gary, with the difficulty he brings to each dive, he fully deserved to be there and Steven LoBue performed great considering he just learned the dive he did.
There were a lot of people on the boats below and people remember me. I have come second here three times and they were saying from the boats, 'You are going to win, Orlando! No more second place!' It is good energy when people remember you from before.
To be honest, there is no pressure. I was talking to a friend of mine a few days ago and he said, 'Forget about the pressure and enjoy it. You've won a lot of stuff'. I knew I was in a good position, but I still knew I had to perform.
Talking of friends, all the divers are really good friends on the circuit. Obviously, once the competition starts we want to win and everybody wants to beat me, but some of us train dives and work out together in small groups. It is a good group.
There are no secrets here. You have to prepare the dives, you can't just make miracles happen.
When it comes to the TV cameras, I kind of zone out from them and the people down in the water. I look at the person in charge and I go to the end of the platform. I am doing my thing.
The weather was really good this weekend which helped. I was pouring water over me before the dive, because it was so hot. Hardly any wind. Hardly any swell.
It was just completely flat and crystal clear. Beautiful. Taking the cold and wind we had in Ireland out of the dive means you can focus better.
I am not even thinking that far ahead though yet in terms of the overall standings. I am experienced enough to know that it is a long season ahead of us. We have a long way to go, and Gary and I have to take care of our bodies.
I am working with my physio to make sure my body is back to normal as fast as possible. It would be a dream to win overall this season.
Speak again soon from Italy!
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