Unstoppable pair celebrate victory at World Series finale in Polignano a Mare.
Gary Hunt and Rhiannan Iffland signed off the 2021 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in style in Italy on Sunday afternoon, displaying their dominance once again by brushing aside the robust challenge of their rivals to claim yet another victory before their crowning ceremonies.
Here is all you need to know:
– Earlier in the week, the two remarkable athletes had wrapped up the championship wins at the Puglia stop in this same location, extending their reign at the top of the sport for another year.
– For Hunt, it was a ninth King Kahekili Trophy in 12 seasons, while Iffland proudly picked up her fifth title in a row in the home of European cliff diving.
– “It feels great,” said Hunt, who posted his second perfect-10 dive of the competition in the final round. “I’ve been struggling with my entries this year. I stood up there and knew I only had one more chance to finish with something special and I’m over the moon I made it happen. This year was very hard. Not only because we had almost two years off, but just
seeing how high the level was. People were diving really consistently and that fired me up. I realised very quickly what the standard was going to be and I came to play.”
– In a competition packed full of high-quality diving with an overall 26 tens from the judges, Hunt was simply a class above as he cruised to a 30-point victory despite his closest challenger, Constantin Popovici, also laying down a perfect dive of his own to pile the pressure on the Frenchman.
– The Romanian finished runner-up for the third time this season, securing himself the same position in the overall season standings ahead of compatriot Catalin Preda, who also executed a perfect dive here to complete a successful season as wildcard in third place overall.
– Local hero Alessandro De Rose wowed the home fans once again in the spot where he
earned his only victory four years ago, and despite leading going into the final round, the
impressive Italian couldn’t quite match the two men above him as he took third place in a
competition for the second time this season.
– “The last time I was on the podium here was in 2017 and it was a one. Today I came third, but to me it is like winning again,” described De Rose, who had to withdraw from the Puglia event earlier this week because of a shoulder injury. “It is amazing and hard to describe. The power that the people give you is big. It’s an individual sport but here with all these people, I’m not by myself.”
– For Iffland, victory at this season finale was every bit as commanding as Hunt’s, with 29
points the gap back to Molly Carlson in second place. The records continue to mount for the
Australian, who earned her 13th victory in a row to complement her fifth King kahekili Trophy in as many seasons.
– “I’m so proud of myself,” said 30-year-old Iffland. “Yesterday it was a bit tricky to get started, because I had already taken the World Series. Today I was speaking with friends and they were saying ‘OK, just go up there and give it your all and make sure you smile through the whole thing’. So that’s what I tried to do and man, I can’t believe it. Two straight seasons, and finish off a day with tens – well, I’m blown away.”
– “It makes me want to keep pushing for more, really,” Iffland continued. “This year the
competition was very, very strong, and I knew that before I even came to the beginning of the season. I had to push harder and harder. It feels nice to be a pioneer and to be the girl on the top spot.”
– Canadian Carlson completed what has been an impressive debut season as a wildcard with another runner-up spot, having already secured a third-place finish overall to earn automatic qualification to next season. Iffland’s compatriot Xantheia Pennisi finished third here, taking fourth place overall to join Carlson in the permanent line-up next season. Jessica Macaulay missed the podium for the first time this season, but despite that the Canadian holds on to second place overall.
– Four men and four women automatically qualify for the 2022 World Series, while the
remaining four places in each category will be decided by overall world rankings, which will
take into account the FINA High Diving World Championships, due to be contested in
– The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series looks back at a record-breaking 12th season; after 21 months away, the competition returned in dramatic style in Saint-Raphaël, France in mid-June and saw Romanian wildcard Catalin Preda produce a magnificent display from 27m to score his first-ever victory.
– Four-time champion Rhiannan Iffland from Australia made an imperious start in the
women’s; and the unstoppable Aussie continued to reign in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while
Gary Hunt returned to winning ways at Stari Most.
– Hunt and Iffland maintained their winning form on a dramatic and barely believable day of high-quality action at the fourth stop of the 2021 World Series in Downpatrick Head, Ireland, before the international cliff diving elite set sails for the Italian double-header.
On a weather-affected final day in Puglia, the French and Australian record champions successfully defended their Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series titles with victory at the penultimate stop of the 2021 season only a couple of days ago.
Results – Stop #6, Polignano a Mare, ITA
1. Rhiannan Iffland AUS – 383.20 points
2. Molly Carlson (W) CAN – 354.95
3. Xantheia Pennisi (W) AUS – 333.00
4. Yana Nestsiarava BLR – 311.75
5. Eleanor Smart USA – 311.70
6. Jessica Macaulay CAN – 309.85
7. Antonina Vyshyvanova (W) UKR – 271.35
8. Maria Paula Quintero COL – 269.95
9. Meili Carpenter (W) USA – 259.15
10. Elisa Cosetti (W) ITA – 256.00
11. Iris Schmidbauer GER – 236.75
12. Jaki Valente BRA – 112.70
1. Gary Hunt FRA – 466.30 points
2. Constantin Popovici ROU – 435.90
3. Alessandro De Rose ITA – 435.65
4. Catalin Preda (W) ROU – 433.20
5. Aidan Heslop (W) GBR – 423.85
6. Sergio Guzman (W) MEX – 412.10
7. Michal Navratil CZE – 372.75
8. Nikita Fedotov (W) RUS – 369.70
9. Carlos Gimeno (W) ESP – 342.60
10. Andy Jones USA – 336.25
11. Artem Silchenko (W) RUS – 315.30
12. David Colturi USA – 301.50
Final Standings* (after 6 of 6 stops)
1. Rhiannan Iffland AUS – 800 points
2. Jessica Macaulay CAN – 580
3. Molly Carlson (W) CAN – 560
4. Xantheia Pennisi (W) AUS – 402
5. Yana Nestsiarava BLR – 380
1. Gary Hunt FRA – 800 pts
2. Constantin Popovici ROU – 640
3. Catalin Preda (W) ROU – 550
4. Alessandro De Rose ITA – 444
5. Michal Navratil CZE – 280
*The Oslo Exhibition did not count towards the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series standings.