Olympic diver towel © Getty

Why do Olympic divers have such tiny towels?

There's some surprising science behind the small towels used by the likes of Tom Daley.

Diving often involves tucks and pikes, where the diver grips their legs. Wet hands and legs can be slippery, so towelling off before a dive is important.

Advertisement

Since Olympic divers sit in a hot tub to keep warm between dives, they’ll towel off and get wet again several times during a competition.

The tiny sports towel (also known as a shammy) absorbs a lot of water and is very easy to wring out afterwards. Some divers also have a ritual of dropping their towel from the diving board into the water to help judge the distance.

Read more about the science of sport:

Advertisement