Inauguration of the Paris 2024 Olympic Aquatics Centre. GETTY IMAGES

A French international diver laughed off an embarrassing mishap in front of President Emmanuel Macron on Friday, when he fell off the diving board and crashed into the water at the inauguration of the aquatics centre for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Alexis Jandard, a two-time world championship medallist, has won widespread praise on social media for playfully mocking his own misfortune rather than quietly retreating into a corner. 

The French international, who was performing a synchronised routine on the 3m board with two other divers during the ceremony, lost his footing while jumping and landed painfully on his back and buttocks on the board before splashing into the water. 

"I'm fine, really! It's superficial, although it looks impressive on the pictures," Jandard told BFMTV after waking up to find Thursday's mishap had become an overnight viral meme. "The fall was ridiculous... it's part of the game. When I look at the fall, it's funny," he joked.

"It's something that happens to us in diving - not regularly but it's not surprising. It happens sometimes in training, in competition... but there it was in front of the President during the inauguration of the pool. I told myself it was the worst moment!," he continued.

The French National Police, for whom Jandard works as a reservist, posted a video taken a few days ago showing "our policeman" taking a colleague diving. "People are talking about Alexis Jandard after a minor incident... Fortunately, he is fine," the police said on their official X account.

Jandard will be competing in the 3m synchronised event in Paris. Speaking about the Olympics, he added: "The goal is clear, to get on the podium." The French diver had already posted a smiling video on Instagram on Thursday evening, telling his followers they deserved a "little debriefing" and admitting he had "fallen in front of the President of the Republic, in front of all of France".

"Laugh at me because, frankly, I deserve it," he said. He confirmed that he had received a message from the French President Emmanuel Macron and that Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera had called him to make sure everything was fine.