Orlando Duque: Cliff Diving Legend

Orlando is a legend in the cliff diving world.

In this interview, I ask him which trait is the most important for a cliff diver: physical fitness, fear management, or technique.

To what extent is cliff diving different from Olympic diving, other than the obvious differences like height and water entry, is cliff diving a different animal? Does the skill set have to be different to excel in cliff diving than to do so in Olympic diving?

Cliff diving is no joke, one could hurt himself badly if something goes wrong. How do you manage the balance between not letting fear paralyze you before a dive, but on the other hand maintain a sufficient level of alertness so you don´t get sloppy and make a mistake?

Visualization is very important in your sport, going mentally through the dive again and again. Do you use visualization beyond that? Some athletes visualize themselves winning, or on the podium, thing like that.

You close your eyes during the dive, and not many divers do that, why?

I know you can only perform a limited number of dives per day, because of the physical strain of the water entry. How do you develop de proprioception of a new dive with such a limited number of times that you can perform it?

What about your physical training? Is there anything that you do that other divers usually don´t?

What´s your biggest weakness as a diver? Something that you constantly need go back to and work on.

And to develop focus and attention… do you have any kind of meditation practice?

Tell me about your longevity as an athlete. Looking back, in retrospect, what have you done, or not done, to be able to be at the top of your game for so many years?

They say that Arnold Schwarzenegger used to win in bodybuilding not only because he was the best, but also he was a master of psychological warfare. Is this something people try in the world series? Even in a very subtle manner…

What´s the biggest misconception about cliff diving, that you encounter among people not familiar with the sport?

If you could change anything in the sport, what would it be?

Are there commonalities among cliff divers in terms of their personalities? If you took the 10 or 20 best cliff divers in the world, would those people represent a cross section of the general population?

What have you learned competing in the sport that you apply in your everyday life?

We live in times in which it is frequent to see athletes and sportspeople behaving very emotionally when they win, they lose their cool, they cry… You are well known for choosing not to do that, even in important victories in your career… Why?

Is there any habit or routine that you do every day that helps you maintain your momentum? Something that you do daily no matter what…

Outside the world of diving, in your life… What is the best decision not to do something that you have ever taken?

What do you feel most proud of that most people don´t know about?

What advice would you give to your 20-year-old?

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