Gary Hunt: "Diving in the Seine is great"

“What was your reaction when you learned that a round would be organized in Paris in front of the Eiffel Tower?
I said to myself that finally they (the organizers) had succeeded. And frankly it’s great. There were rumors but we weren’t sure of anything because it’s not easy to organize such a big event in Paris in the Seine. So, when I got the confirmation, I was super happy. Especially since I feel more and more Parisian. I don’t live in Paris itself but in Montreuil, to the east of the capital. I can’t wait to have images of me in the air in front of the Eiffel Tower. At home, on one of the walls, I have photos of diving competitions in Paris about 100 years ago. I’m going to be able to experience that today, I didn’t think it could one day. But here we are, I would finally have my own photo, which I could hang next to the others. That’s exciting.

What difference will it make to dive from a platform into the Seine rather than into the sea and from the top of a cliff?
Every place is different. In the Seine, what is positive is that there are no waves. In Saint-Raphaël for example, it is sometimes difficult to manage the movements of the sea. There, it will be calm. And I think we’ve dived in colder waters than that before. I think the conditions are really good here.

Do you know the spot well?
Yes a little, I was several times in reconnaissance, I also made some videos. I can’t wait to see the place with lots of people, it’s going to be a really good atmosphere. And then there is the Eiffel Tower, we cannot forget it. It is a mythical monument emblematic of France and as I am now French it makes it even more special for me.

Do you know what is happening under the surface of the Seine?
Not too. I have never swum in this river, but in the Marne yes as I live nearby. I know it’s deeper in the middle and we will have a platform that will allow us to dive there. We only need five meters deep.

“If I put on my blue-white-red swimsuit, I think the public will be on my side”

Diving in Paris and facing the Eiffel Tower, does that add more pressure?
For sure. It will undoubtedly be the first time in a long time that I haven’t felt so much pressure. But I love it. Over time, I learned to play with it. When you’re young, you can make mistakes because you’re not prepared enough. I remember that, during the first World Championship, I missed the last dive of the season, a dive that I usually never miss, all because of the pressure. It was a lesson for me. Now I use pressure to dive better. The fact of having been 2nd during the first stage of the season (in Boston) increases my desire to dive well and win here in Paris.

Gary Hunt.  (Red Bull Content Pool)

Gary Hunt. (Red Bull Content Pool)

As you are now a Parisian, do you think you will have an advantage over the others?
The dive will be the same for everyone. Me, like the others, I didn’t dive from this platform or into the Seine. But I think, if I put on my blue-white-red swimsuit, I think the public will be on my side and that helps. Judges can be influenced by the shouting world. When I hear the crowd behind me, I want to give the maximum. And since there will be lots of friends and family present, I will be very motivated. it’s going to be awesome. To have a good performance in front of everyone, that excites me.

The water of the Seine is famous for not being very clean. Does this worry you?
We’re not used to it because it’s rare that we dive in super clean waters. We have already dived in Rotterdam, in Boston, in a river in Bosnia and, each time, the hygiene was far from perfect. We took medication, probiotics, to avoid bacteria. Normally, I don’t have too many problems with that. I take a shower right after and it’s fine. As for the next Olympic Games there will be activities in the Seine, I think they are cleaning it up (smile). »

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