Divers defy death at Oslo world championships

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10:39 CEST+02:00
Curling up like shrimp just before they hit the water, the world’s best ”death divers” gathered in Oslo on Sunday for a hair-raising display of high-diving with a twist.

Organized by the International Death-Diving Association (Det Internasjonale Dødseforbundet), the competition kept some 1,500 spectators on the edge of their seats at Frognerbadet, the open-air swimming arena where the extreme sport originated in the late 1960s.

To complete a classic-style dødsning death dive, the participant leaps out in a horizontal X-formation and plunges from the 10-metre board into the pool below, curling up at the last moment to avoid belly-flopping straight into the history books.

After the classic round that kicked off the evening’s entertainment, the divers then switched to freestyle mode, hitting the water in the most inventive ways possible without losing limbs, eyes, or too much dignity in the process.

Vidar Thyness, the oldest diver in the competition at 49, spoke for many in the crowd when he described his feelings after the first round.

”It’s completely bonkers to do this; you knock yourself half to death,” he told newspaper Dagbladet.

”It’s the adrenaline along the way that makes it all worthwhile.”

When all the dives were done, snowboarder Henning Marthinsen emerged as the fifth annual winner of the death-diving world championships.

Another of the veterans, 39-year-old Petter Andresen, came third in a field that had been whittled down for the final from 70 to 33 competitors.  

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"The best thing about this event is that it has become a party for all the family," he told Dagbladet.

"I meet old friends here and they have their children with them. They are the next generation of death divers who will take over after us."

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