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French diver slips during Paris Olympics pool inauguration

Few Olympic events match the coordination and grace of synchronized diving — but it can also be quite a spectacle when it goes wrong.

Thankfully Frenchman Alexis Jandard also saw the funny side when he fell off his springboard Thursday at the inauguration of the Paris Aquatics Centre, one of the venues for this summer’s Games.

Wearing the tricolor trunks of his homeland and eager to impress the star guest, French President Emmanuel Macron, Jandard bounced once, twice… before slipping, falling onto his back and tumbling haphazardly into the water. The levels of slapstick were only enhanced by the other two divers causing barely a ripple from 3 meters up.

“J’ai glissé chef” — or, “I slipped, boss” — Jandard, 26, posted to Instagram later Thursday alongside a picture showing how the diving board had lashed bloody scrapes across his back.

French diver Alexis Jandard falls onto the board during a demonstration at the the Olympic Aquatics Centre in Saint-Denis, north of Paris on April 4, 2024.  (Metropole Du Grand Paris / AFP - Getty Images)
French diver Alexis Jandard falls onto the board during a demonstration at the the Olympic Aquatics Centre in Saint-Denis, north of Paris on April 4, 2024. (Metropole Du Grand Paris / AFP - Getty Images)

“I fell in front of the president. I fell in front of the whole of France,” he said, smiling while giving a walk-and-talk “debrief” on Instagram stories. “I’ve broken boards before, but the board had never broken me before. Now it has. I would have preferred this ceremony to have gone well from start to finish. There was that little hitch. If it made people smile a little, so much the better.”

He said there was “a little blood, but it’s not serious, it won’t stop me from going to train this afternoon.”

Jandard represented France in the men’s 3 meter springboard at Tokyo 2020, which was delayed a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. He is set to do so again this year.

Officials will be hoping that his tumble isn’t portentous for the event itself, which is facing questions over security, particularly its ambitious opening ceremony.

Paris 2024 is set to open with a 10,000-athlete, 90-boat flotilla down the river Seine, the first time the event will have been held outside the controlled environment of a single stadium.

Some Parisians have also balked at the blanket-levels of security and surveillance set to descend on their city in a bid to keep the sprawling event safe.

But many others are already excited about this sporting festival in the City of Light, the first since Covid 19-related lockdowns that hampered the Games in Tokyo and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.“The Games are in three months and it would be a shame to get injured now,” Jandard told French TV channel RMC Sport, reflecting his own form of trepidation ahead of the gala. “But everything is fine. No problem.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com