You might expect to meet the slightly crazy thrill-seeking type, but Gary Hunt doesn’t fit that profile. The 38-year-old naturalized in 2018, who now lives in Montreuil (93) with his partner, has a rather calm temperament. Considered by many to be the best diver in the world, he tells us that in his spare time he prefers to play the piano or guitar rather than seek out other extreme experiences. The athlete is also learning new languages, Spanish and Russian. I must say that in this risky sport you need a certain skill. Having tried gymnastics and swimming from an early age, the London native quickly discovered diving and made it his specialty. First 5 meters, then 10 meters, before becoming one of the rare people on Earth who jumps more than 20 meters in height.
Since 2009 and his debut in the so-called “high diving” or high diving, Gary Hunt has won the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, the benchmark event in this extraordinary discipline, 8 times. This is an annual international championship with approximately ten rounds around the world, which are held at sea or on rivers. After diving in Boston in early June, Hunt will jump into the Seine in Paris for the first time in his career, facing the Eiffel Tower from a platform 27 meters high. At home, in front of family and friends. Those who harbor the hope of participating in the 2024 Olympics under the flag of France tell us that the pressure will be greater than ever. “But I love high tension situations, I have always used pressure to push myself and dive even better,” he says. On the eve of this unprecedented performance and two years before the Olympics in the capital, QG spoke to this outstanding diver to discuss his goals, his way of learning, and his inevitably special relationship with fear.
Are you not even afraid?
Now accustomed to jumping from high platforms, Gary Hunt learned at an early age to dive and move through the air and feel comfortable there. The high diving champion tells us that as a child he spent a lot of time in his garden, practicing on the trampoline, which was always a working tool for him, before he discovered diving. “When I was about 9 years old, we always had 5 minutes to do what we wanted at the end of the lesson. I had a sheet with all possible dives, and I crossed them out as soon as I could do it, he explains. I had a lot of fun doing this, and little by little I learned to dive, which seemed crazy to others.