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Gary Hunt and company give themselves wings in front of the Eiffel Tower

A minimum of 25,000 curious people were present on Saturday, in the Parisian heat, to see 24 divers jump into the Seine.

For the first time since its creation in 2009, the Red Bull Cliff Diving put down its cans and its diving board in Paris on Saturday. Under 40 degrees in Paris, 24 divers jumped into the Seine, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, not far from the Pont de l’Alma and the Trocadero.

Red Bull expected at least 20,000 fans around the Eiffel Tower for this first edition of the Red Bull Cliff Divingand this bar has been largely reached since the first estimate at the end of the event announced a minimum of 25,000 curious people present to see this Parisian stage.

In a friendly atmosphere where tourists and Parisians, families and friends, young and old met, and on a musical background of the greatest hits of the groups Queen, Nirvana, Linkin Park or Green Daythe Debilly footbridge and the left bank, converted into sports stands, displayed a dense and noisy crowd. “The event was really nice thanks to a magnificent setting and impressive athletes, capable of making monstrous figures”, tells us Edouard, spectator present on the Debilly footbridge on Saturday. Before continuing: “The giant screen brings a real plus for the spectators, while waiting for the athletes between the events.”

With giant screens and powerful speakers, all the ingredients were there for this first edition to be a resounding success for the Austrian brand and a unique moment for the public, between summer pleasure and a strong dose of adrenaline.

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A “waking dream” for Gary Hunt

Although he only finished second in the stage, behind the Romanian Catalin Preda and his 470.50 points, Gary Hunt is the real man of the weekend. Jumping into the Seine, from the top of the 27-meter diving board, in front of the Eiffel Tower and its public who came en masse to support it, remains a strong emotional moment for the naturalized French athlete in 2020. “The atmosphere is great, it’s been a long time since I had such support, so I’m enjoying it. To have this mythical Eiffel Tower in front of us is exceptional. I will remember it for a long time,” told us Gary Hunt, coming out of the water after his first dive.

He was even able to count on a fan zone in his honor at the Port de la Bourdonnais, near the Quai Branly, where we were able to observe hundreds of supporters with banners and other jerseys bearing his image. The Marseillaise even sounded repeatedly to give strength to Gary Hunt.

Controlled organization

If Red Bull’s paw in the world of sport is well established, bringing an extreme event of the Austrian brand to Paris was not an easy task from an administrative point of view – what is more in front of the Eiffel Tower and on the Seine. “We managed to set up this event in Paris after several months of work, it is not easy to organize this kind of thing in the public domain with several authorizations to be requested, for the Seine, for the city, for the prefecture” , confirms Michael Courcoux, general manager of the communication agency Ubi Bene, who works with Red Bull in France.

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Gary Hunt, la star du week-end. JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP

With a success already confirmed, a new edition of Cliff Diving next season cannot be ruled out, even if several parameters must be met to ensure a long-term presence with the Austrian brand. “The objective was to take the event, which had already taken place in La Rochelle and Saint-Raphaël, to a strong capital like Paris. We could come back next year but the decision of the choice of cities is managed by Red Bull internationally but nothing is impossible. Michael concludes.

While diving is one of the Olympic disciplines that will be on the program of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Red Bull Cliff Diving represented a great opportunity for the French capital to organize sporting events on the water, while testing the infrastructure and security that come with such hardships.

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