Olympic bronze in 2008, Oleksiy is one of the Red Bull Cliff Diving athletes. He is 35 years old and comes from Kharkiv, one of the most war-torn cities. “Lately I have a bit of mood swings. I try to relax and smile: it’s the only way I have to regain concentration”
The 2008 Beijing Olympic bronze medal in synchronized dives from the 3-meter springboard is always a very sweet memory that often comes back to Oleksiy Prygorov’s mind. Now he dives from a height nine times greater, the 27 meters of Red Bull Cliff Diving, where head and concentration are the key, as well as clearly the technique. But if on technique, a diver who has won an Olympic medal cannot have problems, it is the head that can betray you when you are not calm. And for a man who knows that a meaningless war is being fought in his country, serenity is utopia. Prygorov is 35 years old and comes from Kharkiv (where his father still lives), one of the most battered cities in Ukraine. He has a lot of modesty when he talks about what’s going on there, but, as he talks about the goals of the season, he inevitably touches on the subject: “This year is all about finding myself and my best mental condition. mood swings: there are moments when I am relaxed and others when I become very thoughtful. And that doesn’t help you if you have to dive from 27 meters. In those cases I try to relax and smile, it’s the only way I can regain concentration “.
FROM 3 TO 27 METERS
To help himself he decided to move to Trieste, where he also found the comfort of our Alessandro De Rose and his coach wife Nicole Belsasso, and in September he will fly to Canada to start a new life. In the meantime, however, he continues to do the thing he loves most and that manages to make him feel good: diving. A passion that he already knew as a kid and that led him to the Chinese Olympics. A few years later, however, the continuous search for new stimuli led him to explore new horizons. “In 2016 I took part in a Europa Park show (in Germany, just north of Freiburg, the second largest amusement park in Europe after Disneyland Paris for the number of accesses, ed) and I started climbing up to 20 meters. That was my first dive from a much greater height than usual. I was with Yana Nestsiarava and Viktar Maslouski, much more experienced divers from those heights and, thanks to their advice, I got passionate and started working on them “. After a month and a half he then went to Area 47, another amusement park in central Austria where many cliff divers train and began studying a program of four dives to show to the Red Bull Cliff Diving judges. After another couple of weeks he showed up in Mostar, at the World Series stage, and showed what he was capable of doing live. Thus began, with the first wild cards that arrived the following year, his journey on the circuit where he is now a permanent diver.
THE HEAD IS EVERYTHING
“The 3-meter springboard and high diving are two completely different disciplines but, after all, they are two sides of the same coin. This sport pushes me to my limits and leads me to improve myself every day, this is the spring that drives me. it allows you to always go back to that platform and dive, even when many other problems take away a bit of my peace of mind “. For him, who learned the technique as a kid, everything is easier. “What makes the difference, in training and in competition, is your head. In the 3-meter springboard you can do a lot of repetitions and you can even afford some mistakes. poolside and dive again. From 27 meters, if you are not perfectly concentrated and you do something wrong, you risk hurting yourself so much. That’s why we divers are all so united and support each other even if we compete against each other. that a mistake can cost you dearly and neither of us wants to see the other make a mistake. Here, a pat on the back before getting on the platform or a good luck from another diver are those things that help me find serenity when I am in a moment no “.