James Lichtenstein of the USA dives from the 27 metre platform during the final competition day of the first stop of the 2024 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series at Lake Vouliagmeni in Athens, Greece on May 26, 2024. // Romina Amato / Red Bull Content Pool

Canadian edges out champion Iffland as Romanian cruises to men’s victory in Greek location.

Canadian Molly Carlson and Constantin Popovici of Romania made it a winning start to the 2024 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Athens on Sunday as they landed the opening blow in this season’s battle for the King Kahekili Trophy.

Here is all you need to know:

– Carlson, runner-up to Australian Rhiannan Iffland in the last two seasons, proved that she is up for the challenge once again, edging out the reigning champion by just 0.1 point in a thrilling duel.

– The winner’s compatriot Simone Leathead also put in a superb performance at the beautiful Lake Vouliagmeni location to finish third, just four points behind, which bodes well for the season ahead.

– Carlson, 25, said: “Last time I went after Rhi, I couldn’t really handle the pressure, so to go out and do that I’m just really proud of myself. Identical scores in the last dive, but I forgot about that little 0.1 from yesterday. Super, super cool. We absolutely love pushing each other. I think when we’re all diving our best and you still come out on top, that’s the most exciting feeling.”

– Romanian Popovici, making his first appearance as the defending champion, picked up where he left off last season with another dominant display from the 27m platform to bank 424.15 points overall.

– Despite a spirited effort from talented Spainiard Carlos Gimeno, it was the Romanian who prevailed by a comfortable 29-point margin leaving James Lichtenstein of the USA to complete the men’s podium.

– Popovici, 35, said: “It feels really good to say I won the first stop, it’s a 2 / 2 good start and I hope I stay there. Sometimes injuries happen, like two days ago, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to end up but the Greek gods gave me some powers today and I’m really happy about that.”

– The next stop in the 2024 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series will be in Boston, USA on June 8.

Athens women’s top three

1. Molly Carlson CAN 323.85 points

2. Rhiannan Iffland AUS 323.75

3. Simone Leathead CAN 319.10

2024 women’s standings (after 1 of 8 events)

1. Molly Carlson CAN 20 points

2. Rhiannan Iffland AUS 16

3. Simone Leathead CAN 14

Athens men’s top three

1. Constantin Popovici ROU 424.15 points

2. Carlos Gimeno SPA 395.70 3.

James Lichtenstein USA 384.40

2024 men’s standings (after 1 of 8 events)

1. Constantin Popovici ROU 20 points

2. Carlos Gimeno ESP 16

3. James Lichtenstein USA 13 Explore more Red Bull Cliff Diving content HERE

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