Tom Daley has been in the limelight for a whole Olympic cycle – it’s like growing up as royalty! Still a teenager, he’s going into his second Olympics and there’s nothing like the experience of an Olympic Games to prepare you for an Olympic Games.
He can’t do anything without it being reported on, but it’s inspirational how he deals with everything life throws at him. Last year his father died aged only 40 – for an 18-year-old to have to deal with that, while competing at the highest level and turning from a boy to a man, demands respect.
This year he’s not had the best start, with injury, and then the questions about whether he does too much media, which I thought was uncalled for and unfair. Tom’s performance wasn’t good at the test event, but he won three silvers and a gold in the World Series and regained his European title.
He’s in the kind of kick-arse form you need in an Olympic year. But you can’t say that anyone is nailed on for gold – diving’s not like long jump or javelin where you take your best effort. You’ve got six dives. If you mess one up, see you in four years. That’s the harsh reality – as Tom and partner Pete Waterfield discovered to their cost in the synchro event after a mistake by Waterfield.
China are the sport’s world leaders. The world champion, Qiu Bo of China, will be the favourite in the 10m platform, but they could field anyone in their top ten and be on the podium. Gold is theirs to lose. They’re not unbeatable, but they’re pretty bloody good.
Alan Titchmarsh: Why I’ll be watching… diving
“I’m going to the high-diving final. I can’t wait to support our athletes and I hope the rest of the country does the same rather than whining about it. When you’ve got somebody who’s good at a particular sport, you get a bit more interested in it – so fingers crossed for Tom Daley.”