The following reflects general expectation rather than official qualification. The 2021 U.S. Olympic Diving Trials can be streamed live on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app June 6-13, as well as seen on the networks of NBCUniversal.
David Boudia: While training in February of 2018, American David Boudia, four-time Olympic medalist on the 10m platform, had a practice dive go horribly wrong. He impacted the water chest- and forehead-first and suffered a severe concussion. After taking several weeks off and still feeling side effects of the injury, Boudia and his coaches decided he would switch to the 3m springboard, which carries lower risk of head injury. With just over a year of training in the new discipline, Boudia managed an impressive fifth-place finish at the 2019 World Diving Championships. He has planned to up the degree of difficulty of his dives ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
Steele Johnson: The other half of the silver medal-winning men’s 10m synchro duo in Rio, Steele Johnson also began training on springboard to keep his partnership with Boudia intact. However, unlike Boudia, Johnson still competes on platform and hopes to qualify for Tokyo in both disciplines.
Shi Tingmao: China’s Shi Tingmao has a mastery of her discipline that borders on invincibility. Since 2015, the 29-year-old has won every single women’s springboard gold medal in major competition – individual and synchronized. She’s done so with three different synchro partners in that span. In Tokyo, Shi’s biggest rival in individual competition is likely to be her current synchro partner Wang Han.
Jack Laugher: Great Britain’s two-time medalist in Rio returned to the podium at 2019 Worlds, winning bronze in the individual springboard event and silver in the synchro springboard event alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow. Goodfellow replaces Laugher’s gold medal-winning partner from Rio, Chris Mears, who retired in 2019.
Other notable returners: Jennifer Abel (CAN), Cao Yuan (CHN), Chen Aisen (CHN), Tom Daley (GBR), Patrick Hausding (GER), Michael Hixon (USA), Jack Laugher (GBR), Si Yajie (CHN)
Wu Minxia, Chen Roulin: The Tokyo diving pool will be without the two most decorated female Olympic divers of all time, Wu Minxia and Chen Roulin. Both Chinese divers retired shortly after the Rio Games in 2016, Minxia at age 30 and Roulin at just 23, due to injury. The pair never competed directly against each other at an Olympics (nor teamed together for synchro), as Wu specialized in springboard while Chen dominated the platform events. Together they share the record for most Olympic diving gold medals won, with five.
Sam Dorman: While one half of the United States’ silver medal-winning synchro springboard duo in Rio, Michael Hixon, is back for Tokyo, his partner, Sam Dorman, will not be. The former Miami Hurricane announced his retirement in 2018.
Qin Kai, He Zi: This Chinese diving couple stole the hearts of fans at the Rio diving pool when Qin proposed to He, his girlfriend of six years, after she had just won silver in the women’s individual springboard. The pair got married the following year, had a daughter, and retired with eight Olympic medals between them.
Other notable retirees: Kristian Ipsen (USA), Abigail Johnston (USA), Lin Yue (CHN), Chris Mears (GBR)
New Faces to Know
Xie Siyi: China’s Xie will enter Tokyo as a favorite to win double gold at his first Olympics. In 2016, Xie missed out on a spot on the hyper-competitive Chinese diving team for Rio, but since has become a three-time World Champion on the 3m springboard.
Sarah Bacon: The former Minnesota Golden Gopher could be a dark horse medal contender on the 3m springboard in Tokyo. At the 2019 World Championships, Bacon picked up silver in the 1m springboard, which is not an Olympic event. However, the performance demonstrated the potential that the 24-year-old has on a springboard.
Other notable new faces: Samantha Bromberg (USA), Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu (CAN), David Dinsmore (USA), Daniel Goodfellow (GBR), Wang Han (CHN), Yang Hao (CHN), Yang Jian (CHN)