x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

'Blond Angel' stood as a standard-bearer for diving

Best Olympic diver No 3 Klaus DiBiasi was prominent before the age of saturation television.

Perhaps the best measurement of Klaus Dibiasi's prominence came after he finished diving, collecting medals and hearing the Italian national anthem upon various continents.

For the years and decades after he closed his Olympic portfolio, with a gold medal at age 28 at Montreal 1976, Dibaisi's name would come up repeatedly as a standard.

Even if his feats largely preceded the era of the saturating television coverage that made global stars of Olympic champions, the son born to Italian parents in Austria in 1947 kept turning up in hallowed name. The "Blond Angel", as people sometimes called him, towered as an apt yardstick across ensuing decades.

He stood for difficult longevity, having said hello as a silver medallist at barely 17 in Tokyo 1964, and goodbye as a man going on 29 in a fourth Olympics and edging out another prodigy, Greg Louganis, at Montreal. He stood for the hard task of title defence with gold medals in the 10m platform from Mexico City 1968 to Munich 1972 to Montreal, the three straight still unmatched.

For more good measure, he won a silver medal in the springboard at Mexico City.

Further, he provided immeasurable inspiration to that 16-year-old prodigy who almost beat Dibiasi at Montreal, and whose prowess at Los Angeles 1984 moved Dibiasi to prove himself also a standard-bearer in magnanimity when he said: "I'm just glad I didn't have to compete against him. I'd have no chance. He's the best diver I've ever seen."

cculpepper@thenational.ae


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