Diving at the 1920 Summer Olympics

The story of the 1920 diving events was the pool in which they were contested and the youth of the top competitors. The “pool” was a moat in the city of Antwerp, around which boardwalks had been constructed to mark the ends of the pool. For the diving events a platform was constructed which floated in the center of the pool and on which the diving boards were set. Bleachers were placed around the pool that allowed seating of 10,000 spectators. The event was held outdoors, and cloudy, rainy weather hindered the divers.

One contestant described the water as “black, dark, dark, black.” She also noted that the water was the coldest any diver had ever encountered. Towels, bathrobes, woolen stockings and socks, and ear mufflers were in each diver’s bag, to allow them to warm up after each dive. The locker rooms had no hot showers. After diving, because of the darkness of the water, the divers often became disoriented and were unable to see the surface, which kept them in the water longer, and added to the discomfort.


Event Status Date Participants NOCs
Springboard, Men Olympic 26 – 27 August 1920 14 9
Platform, Men Olympic 28 – 29 August 1920 15 7
Plain High, Men Olympic 22 – 25 August 1920 22 11
Springboard, Women Olympic 29 August 1920 4 1
Plain High, Women Olympic 24 – 28 August 1920 15 6
53 (35/18) 14 (13/6)


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Springboard, Men Lou KuehnUSA Bud PinkstonUSA Louis BalbachUSA
Platform, Men Bud PinkstonUSA Erik AdlerzSWE Harry PriesteUSA
Plain High, Men Arvid WallmanSWE Nils SkoglundSWE Johan JanssonSWE
Springboard, Women Aileen RigginUSA Helen WainwrightUSA Thelma PayneUSA
Plain High, Women Stefanie ClausenDEN Eileen ArmstrongGBR Ewa OlliwierSWE

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States USA 3 2 3 8
Sweden SWE 1 2 2 5
Denmark DEN 1 0 0 1
Great Britain GBR 0 1 0 1