In later years, the event was subject to criticism as "not an athletic event at all," but instead a competition favoring "mere mountains of fat who fall in the water more or less successfully and depend upon inertia to get their points for them." John Kiernan, sports writer for the New York Times, once described the event as the "slowest thing in the way of athletic competition", and that "the stylish-stout chaps who go in for this strenuous event merely throw themselves heavily into the water and float along like icebergs in the ship lanes." Similarly, an 1893 English report on the sport noted that spectators were not enamored of it, as the diver "moves after thirty or forty feet at a pace somewhat akin to a snail, and to the uninitiated the contests appear absolute wastes of time."
July 30, 2011
mentioned in May, I once had a dream that I had won a gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics. When challenged over the unlikeliness of my memory, I explained to my dream interlocutor that it was in the plunge for distance, which isn't on TV so it doesn't get any good athletes. Now, somebody has notified me that they've just created a Wikipedia page on this long-lost sport:
It's well-written enough that some Wikipedia editor will probably delete all the amusing parts. (That's my main criticism of Wikipedia: not that it gets facts wrong, but that it is allergic to good writing.)