With nine world champion titles and two Guinness world records on his side, the Colombian high diver was the clear favourite for the Red Bull Cliff Diving Series 2009. With four podiums – one second and three first places – after the first half of the season, he seemed to be far ahead of the rest. However, the 35-years-old never lost sight of his co-competitors and always kept an eye on Gary Hunt and Artem Silchenko. A small injury sustained during a training dive in Hamburg let him finish on fourth position, his worst series result.
As a Colombian living in one of the most wanted places on earth, Hawaii, Orlando Duque is always relaxed, calm and in a good mood. He knows how to handle stressful situations, be it in diving or at airports around the world, and is quite aware of his outstanding diving talent. Among the world’s cliff diving elite he is maybe the one who can focus best on the things to come and adjust to whatever water or weather conditions and heights.
After more than a decade of Olympic diving he changed to high diving in 1995, “the more natural way of diving”, as he calls it. In Europe he improved his diving skills over the next years, being coached by Ken Grove, a former Olympic diver and now one of the series’ judges. In his first world championships in 1999 he took the second place and started his successful cliff diving career that – as the latest highlight so far – made him earn the first World Series Champion title at the series final in Athens, Greece.
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