He is a legend, and the iconic figure of the sport. He is cliff diving and cliff diving is his life. "The sport chose me. I went around doing other things; I didn't like any of them. When I ended up diving, I was like 'this is it!'". With 13 world titles and two Guinness world records to his name, Colombian cliff diver Orlando Duque has proved his tremendous ability time and again from 27 metres, reaching the very pinnacle of his sport over the last 15 years.
In 2013, in Barcelona, he became the winner of the inaugural FINA High Diving World Championship and, despite turning 40 years of age in 2014, he continues to compete at the top of his discipline. A fact convincingly proven during the previous season, where the Hawaii-resident finished six out of eight competitions on the podium and became Gary Hunt's overall runner-up for the third time.
Colombia's 'Dancing with the Stars' participant knows well the ups and downs of the sport of cliff diving. After a season-ending injury in 2011, Orlando was determined to come back better than ever and so he did in 2012, coming agonisingly close to beating champion Gary Hunt to the World Series title at the final stop in Oman.
After more than a decade of Olympic diving, the most experienced athlete in the World Series line-up made the transition to what he calls "the more natural form of diving" in the mid-90s. Duque's high diving career began in Europe where he improved his diving skills. In his first world championships in 1999, he took second place and so began a hugely successful cliff diving career, one highlight of which saw him become the first World Series Champion at the final in Athens, Greece, in September 2009.