Flashback: Seventh Heaven for Iffland

Rhiannan Iffland
Date: 14/09/2020

A year ago today, 14th September 2019, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series witnessed a historic and unprecedented first. Australian Rhiannan Iffland, who had already scribbled her name into the record books for various feats during her short but stellar career, prevailed at the final stop in Bilbao to become the first person ever to complete a perfect season.

Seven stops, seven victories. Just let that sink in. Not to mention gold medals at the FINA World Championships and FINA World Cup, along with an amazing eight 10s during the season.

Iffland completed a flawless season with another dominating display in Bilbao. Photo: Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool.

The passing of time, along with the absence of competition this year, may have dampened the memories for some, but this extraordinary accomplishment will be written about and talked of for many years to come. Dominance on this scale is rarely seen across the sporting world, and for those few athletes who do manage such deeds, the word 'legend' often accompanies their name whenever it's mentioned. 

Think Michael Phelps, Tiger Woods, Billie Jean King.

As a sport, cliff diving may not yet enjoy the global prominence which helped to thrust such names into superstardom, but make no mistake, Iffland ranks alongside them on ability and achievements. In a discipline where every leap, every twist, every miniscule movement requires clockwork precision, and where body and mind need to be so finely tuned and working in utter harmony, such dominance and perfection is almost supernatural. 

Even now, 12 months on, the four-time champion still can't quite believe it:

"Maybe it'll sink in more next year, when the challenges come again," admits Iffland, who celebrated her 29th birthday last week. "I set a couple of goals at the start of the 2019 season and all those goals changed as I went along and the success started to come; one of those goals was actually to change the way I approached the competitions and I approached competing mentally.

A stunning dive in Mostar earned the Australian four 10s from the judges. Photo: Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool.

"So I really tried to carry a confident and strong and good attitude basically throughout the season. And I think that was really working for me, I found my myself in a really good place mentally, which definitely helps everything, and physically the dives ran smoothly.

"As I went through, I built on that. And I think halfway through the season I was having a ball and every time I stood up on the platform I couldn't believe the way that I felt and I just had a sense that it was going to go well. It's really amazing and I hope I can continue to stay in that place for the next few years to come."

Another King Kahekili Trophy to add to the growing collection. Photo: Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool.

For Iffland, it's been an enforced 365 days out of the office. But when the World Series resumes in 2021, this legend will be back to work on title number 5. 

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