Diving at the 1908 Summer Olympics

The two diving events at the 1908 Olympics were conducted as part of the swimming program, which also included water polo. They were held in the huge pool which had been built in the infield of the White City Stadium. At one side of the pool, a large diving tower was erected, which was retractable so that when in it was not in use, it was lowered below the surface of the water. The pool and the tower were designed by William Henry, Secretary of the Royal Life Saving Society, who had also competed in the 1900 and 1906 Olympic Games.

Two events were contested - a plain high diving, or platform-type diving, and fancy high diving off a springboard. In addition, on Saturday, 18 July, an exhibition of diving was given by two women - Valborg Florstr”m of Finland and Ebba Gisico of Sweden. Women would not make their official Olympic d‚but in swimming and diving until 1912 in Stockholm. This diving exhibition was the first appearance at the Olympics for women in the pool.

An unusual difference in the scoring systems is noted in the rules for the diving. In the plain high diving (platform) the judges’ scores were multiplied by the degree of difficulty for each dive. But in the fancy diving (springboard), the degree of difficulty was added to the judges’ scores. Also of note, the regulations stated that the final placements would be determined by an ordinal system of scoring, similar to figure skating, but the ordinal scores are not recorded in any source. In addition, the individual judges’ scores are not known, so it is not possible to reconstruct the ordinal placements.


Event Status Date Participants NOCs
Springboard, Men Olympic 14 – 18 July 1908 23 8
Platform, Men Olympic 20 – 24 July 1908 24 6
39 (39/0) 9 (9/0)


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Springboard, Men Albert ZürnerGER Kurt BehrensGER George Gaidzik
Gottlob Walz
Platform, Men Hjalmar JohanssonSWE Karl MalmströmSWE Arvid SpångbergSWE

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Germany GER 1 1 1 3
Sweden SWE 1 1 1 3
United States USA 0 0 1 1