Canadian Molly Carlson and British Aidan Heslop achieve their first victories in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Bostonbeating the current male and female champions with an exceptional performance at the Institute of Contemporary Art.
In her first appearance as a permanent World Series athlete, following an impressive wildcard debut season in 2021, Carlson, 23, produced four rounds of flawless diving to edge five-time champion Rhiannan Iffland, ending her streak of 13 Australian victories. Going into the fourth and final round, the two divers were tied for first place. On her final jump, Carlson received her first 10 of the year, the judges’ highest score.
Meili Carpenter, in her fourth World Series appearance, gave American fans great joy by earning her first podium finish at the waterfront museum. For her part, her compatriot Eleanor Smart had a solid performance and finished just behind the podium places, in fourth place.
In the men’s category, the 20-year-old Heslop, also in his first performance as a permanent diver, was literally too good for his more experienced rivals, leaving behind the nine-time champion, Frenchman Gary Hunt, with his final jump – quadruple somersault forward with three and a half corkscrews – which broke the single jump scoring record in diving history.
After a rather weak start on the first day, the Romanian Catalin Preda finished in third position in his first performance as a permanent diver to complete the podium. His compatriot and 2021 overall runner-up, Constantin Popovici, leader after two days, fell in the standings after failing to hit his difficult jumps. The 33-year-old diver from Bucharest finished in tenth position.
Gary Hunt and Rhiannan Iffland have been unstoppable in recent years. In fact, you have to go back to 2017 to find the last time someone else lifted the King Kahekili Trophy, reserved for the overall winners. However, last season, both came under pressure from their rivals and now the new generation has dealt a serious blow in this year’s premiere. With 14 World Series titles between them, the champions are expected to make a strong response when they return to the stands in Paris in two weeks.
The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series returns on June 18 in Paris for the first stop on a tour of European capitals. Gary Hunt, the British super champion who adopted French nationality in 2020 and now lives in Paris, calls this opportunity to compete at home “a dream come true.”
Molly Carlson: “I have no words! I have never jumped in front of my family, so to have come here, to have enjoyed it so much and to be so proud of what I have achieved in front of them is truly a dream come true.
I had trained indoors and it’s always scary when you go outside for the first time; “She wanted to prove to myself that she could do it and jump well outdoors… I’m excited to continue with so much motivation, keep having fun and see what this season has in store for me.”
Aidan Heslop: “A crazy day! I did my two optional jumps the way I wanted and I couldn’t have asked for anything better: to be on top of the podium and for Molly, my girlfriend, to be on top too.
There are many new jumpers in this sport and diving is becoming more difficult. Being able to compete with these talents at the top is a dream for me. I have followed this sport for a long time and now I jump with my idols. It’s difficult, now you have to really train for this sport. Before you could be a good jumper and dare to dive, but now you have to train every day. It is hard work. But, on days like today, it’s worth it.
The plan for Paris is to continue like this. “I’m in the best possible position right now and I want to stay here for the rest of the season.”
Classification – 1st Test, Boston, USA
1- Molly Carlson CAN – 377.40 ptos.
2- Rhiannan Iffland AUS – 373.60
3- Meili Carpenter (W) USA – 323.55
4- Eleanor Smart USA – 313.90
5- Jessica Macaulay CAN – 311.10
6- Xantheia Pennisi AUS – 301.60
7- Adriana Jiménez MEX – 293.45
8- Iris Schmidbauer (W) BUT – 280.05
9- María Paula Quintero COL – 274.20
10- Antonina Vyshyvanova (W) UCR – 273.30
11- Genevieve Bradley (W) USA – 251.30
12- Maria Smirnova (W) USA – 196.95
1- Aidan Heslop GBR – 462.50 ptos.
2- Gary Hunt FROM – 424.85
3- Catalin Preda RUM – 412.30
4- Alessandro De Rose ITA – 390.90
5- David Colturi (W) USA – 385.95
6- Nikita Fedotov IAT – 376.00
7- Carlos Gimeno (W) ESP – 368.80
8- Michal Navratil (W) RCH – 364.95
9- Andy Jones (W) USA – 358.00
10- Constantin Popovici RUM – 339.30
11- Oleksiy Prygorov UCR – 309.60
12- Jonathan Paredes MEX – 145.80
Since 2009, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series has served as a platform to achieve increasingly complex and aesthetic jumps, highlighting the best athletes as well as promising new talents. The World Series is a pure extreme sport that is held in extraordinary locations where athletes jump from cliffs, historic bridges or next to waterfalls, always with the aim of acting with environmental responsibility and making the sustainability of our planet visible.
In 2022, 24 of the best divers (12 women and 12 men) will once again jump, spin and somersault from impressive heights of up to 27 meters and reaching speeds of over 85 km/h, with no other protection than their concentration, skill and physical control, throughout 8 demanding tests. An exciting search for perfection and excellence necessary to compete for the legendary King Kahekili trophy in the 13th edition of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.