Mike Hixon: Hixon heads to Tokyo as Team USA's only returning Olympic diving medalist. Alongside then-partner Sam Dorman, he won silver in dramatic fashion in the men's synchronized 3m springboard at Rio 2016. Dorman retired in 2018, so Hixon has teamed up with 21-year-old Indiana Hoosier, Andrew Capobianco for Tokyo. The duo won the synchro springboard competition at U.S. Trials by 120 points.
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: Katrina Young, Jennifer Abel (CAN), Cao Yuan (CHN), Chen Aisen (CHN), Tom Daley (GBR), Patrick Hausding (GER), Si Yajie (CHN)
David Boudia: After switching disciplines from platform to springboard in 2018 to protect against further head injury, four-time Olympic medalist David Boudia was unable to qualify for a fourth Games at the U.S. Olympic Diving Trials this summer. Boudia finished third in the men's individual springboard competition, just five points shy of an Olympic berth. He was also unable to finish out the competition in the synchro springboard event as partner Steele Johnson was forced to withdraw with injury.
Steele Johnson: Boudia's synchro partner on the Rio podium, Steele Johnson, has battled a nagging foot injury since 2016 which has included multiple failed surgeries. His pain was so great at Trials that he could not continue with he and Boudia trailing in the synchro springboard competition.
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.
Other notable retirees: Kristian Ipsen (USA), Abigail Johnston (USA), Lin Yue (CHN), Chris Mears (GBR)
New Faces to Know
Krysta Palmer: A former gymnastics and trampoline athlete, Palmer took up diving at age 20, much later than most of her competitors. Now, at age 29, she will become the first American woman to compete in both the synchronized and individual springboard events at a single Olympics when competition begins in Tokyo. Palmer qualified in the synchro event alongside partner Alison Gibson and won the individual springboard at U.S. Diving Trials by 85 points over teenager Hailey Hernandez, who will also compete in Tokyo.
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.
Other notable new faces: Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu (CAN), Jordan Windle (USA), Daniel Goodfellow (GBR), Wang Han (CHN), Yang Hao (CHN), Yang Jian (CHN)