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Numerous top-tier athletes celebrated their participation in the French Diving Open, a three-day event that also served as an official test for the new Olympic Aquatics Centre in Paris.

More than 50 athletes representing 15 nations competed in both the women’s and men’s 3m and 10m events, offering a comprehensive preview of what spectators can expect during the Games. Tom Daley, the champion at Tokyo 2020, was among those commending the venue. He clinched the synchronised 10m gold alongside Noah Williams on the last evening of the French Diving Open.

Daley, the British diver, will be participating in his fifth Olympic Games this summer. “It’s always very special when you get to dive in what’s going to be the Olympic pool for the first time,” Daley told World Aquatics. “The pool is really nice, it’s easy to dive in and the surfaces as good so it’s a great pool.”

Cao Yuan, China's three-time Olympic champion and another prominent figure in the sport, eagerly took the opportunity to experience the venue before his fourth Games. At 29 years old, he aims to secure a fourth consecutive gold medal at the Paris 2024 Games.

“I think the venue is very big and lots of space and it’s been great for me to get use to this competition environment,” he said. “It’s going to be great to come back after Tokyo to compete in Paris and for me it’s important to do my best to perform in my best condition so I can try to get a good result at the Paris Games.”

Australian diver Maddison Keeney captured the synchronised 3m bronze medal alongside Annabelle Smith at Rio 2016. However, she was unable to compete at Tokyo 2020 due to a series of Covid-19 restrictions and, ultimately, a pre-Games injury. The duo will reunite for Paris 2024, and they clinched gold at the Olympic test event. Additionally, Keeney claimed the individual 3m title.

British diver Daley has praised the Aquatics Centre in Paris ahead of the upcoming Olympics. GETTY IMAGES
British diver Daley has praised the Aquatics Centre in Paris ahead of the upcoming Olympics. GETTY IMAGES

“I quite like that it’s a smaller venue rather than a massive stadium as I think it will be really intimate and I think it’ll be an amazing atmosphere when it’s full,” Keeney stated. The architecture is beautiful and it’s really bright and fun so I really like that.”

Smith, who competed solo at Tokyo 2020 amidst empty stands due to Covid-19 restrictions, voiced her excitement about restoring the Games to their origins. “The Olympics is all about sharing it with the community, the public and people travelling from all over the world and everyone is excited to fill the stands again," she said.

Alexis Jandard, the bronze medallist at the 2023 World Championships from France, is optimistic that the establishment of the new Olympic Aquatics Centre will offer a significant boost for the nation's divers both presently and in the years to come.

“We are lucky to take part in this generation to have an Olympics at home and we hope that after the Games there will be a big legacy for us,” Jandard told World Aquatics. “We need divers and we need pools and this is a good way to build a new nation of diving. I’m calling on the French Federation to do what they can and we’ll do what we can with the results to make people follow diving.”