Thomas Robert Daley
From age 11 to 14 Daley attended Eggbuckland Community College. At 13 he became a celebrity supporter of ChildLine, a children's helpline run by the NSPCC, and at that time it was revealed that he had been bullied eighteen months earlier. In April 2009 Daley alleged to Plymouth's main local newspaper The Herald that he had been regularly bullied at school since the Olympics, and his father told the BBC that he had temporarily withdrawn him from Eggbuckland because its response to the problem had been ineffective. Daley was praised in the media for speaking out about the problem. Daley was promptly offered a full scholarship to board at independent school Brighton College, but his father turned this down due to the distance from home, and entered negotiations with local independent school Plymouth College, which had offered him a "very significant scholarship". Plymouth College regularly offers swimming scholarships, and its ex-pupils include 2008 Olympic medallist Cassie Patten. A few weeks later it was confirmed that Daley had enrolled at Plymouth College. Daley took his GCSEs in small batches to fit round his diving commitments. He persuaded supermodel Kate Moss to pose for a recreation of an original portrait by David Hockney, as part of a GCSE photography project recreating great works of art, after meeting her on a photo shoot for the Italian version of Vogue. Having obtained 2A and 5A* grades in his GCSEs, Daley has begun his two year A level courses in Maths, Spanish and Photography, having declined to undertake the International Baccalaureate course because of the parallel pressures and time necessary for his preparation for the 2012 Olympics.
'FAMILY FUN AT CHRISTMAS'
In June 2004, the month after his tenth birthday, he won the platform competition in the National Junior (under 18) group, making him the youngest winner of that event. In 2005 he competed as a guest competitor in the Australian Elite Junior Nationals, and placed first in platform and second in 3 m springboard in the 14-15 age group event. He also competed in the 14-15 category at the 2005 Aachen Junior International, placing second in platform and third in 3 m springboard. He met the qualification standard for the 2006 Commonwealth Games, but was not selected for the England team because of his age. In 2006 he was the under-18 British champion in platform and 3m springboard, and he placed second in the 10 m platform at the 2007 senior British Championships, which were held in December 2006.2007In January 2007, at the age of twelve, Daley was given a special dispensation to compete at the 2007 Australian Youth Olympic Festival. The usual minimum age is fifteen. Competing with a persistent thumb injury, Daley won the silver medal with synchro-partner Callum Johnstone in the 10-metre synchronised-diving final. Later in 2007, he won the senior platform title at the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) National Championships, the national championship for English divers. In 2007 he also began to compete on FINA's international diving circuit of Grand Prix and World Series events, twice finishing fourth in individual competition 2008
In the February 2010 British Championships individual 10 m competition, Daley unveiled his 5255B dive (back two-and-a-half somersault, two-and-a-half twists) in competition for the first time, giving him a 3.6 tariff dive (reduced from 3.8 in FINAs' September 2009 DD tables). In this competition Daley finished in 2nd place, 40.05 points behind Peter Waterfield. In the March 2010 FINA Diving World Series event in Qingdao individual 10 m competition, Daley showcased his two new dives and finished in 4th place, 520.35 points (his best score of the year). In the first April 2010 FINA Diving World Series event held in Veracruz, Mexico, Daley failed to qualify for the final round of the individual 10 m competition, but in the second event held in the same venue three days later (to replace the Sheffield DWS event which was cancelled because of the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull), Daley finished in 4th place, with a score of 519.70 points - his second highest score of the season (just 0.8 points away from bronze). In August 2010 Daley attended the European Championships in Budapest, Hungary, intending to defend his individual 10m title. However, an injury to his triceps muscle in the 10m synchro competition forced his withdrawal from both the synchro and individual 10m competitions, and placed his participation in the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in the following two weeks in doubt. It was later announced that Daley would dive in the 3m springboard but not in the 10m platform. Daley took part in the 3m springboard diving competition and finished in 9th place. On 12 October 2010, Daley attended the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India and he, together with his teammate Max Brick, won the gold medal for Synchronised 10m Platform Competition. The following day he also won gold in the 10m Individual Platform competition. In November 2010, Daley was announced as one of the nominated sportsmen for both the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2010 and BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year 2010. He went on to win BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year 2010 for the third time in his career, and is the first person to receive this award three times.
For the 2011 season, Daley was paired in the synchronised competitions with 2004 Athens Olympic silver medallist Peter Waterfield in British Swimming's continuing efforts to find the best synchro pairing for the 2012 Olympics. At the 2011 National Cup, the British Championship was held in the new Southend Swimming and Diving Centre on 28-30 January and Daley came 2nd in the 3m springboard competition behind Jack Laugher and, together with Waterfield, won the 10m platform synchronised competition. The following day, Waterfield beat Daley to the individual 10m platform title for the second successive year, by 494.25 points to 472.35, with Max Brick third with 399.80.
Tom Daley won silver at the national diving championships just four days after his father's funeral.The 17-year-old decided to go ahead and dive at the event in Leeds despite his father losing a long battle with brain cancer just two weeks ago.And amazingly the reigning world champion, who gave the eulogy at his dad's funeral, took second place in the 10m platform event behind synchronised diving partner Pete Waterfield."I am slightly disappointed but there are lots of positives to take away today," said Tom. "Dad would have wanted me to be here and competing and I'm pleased I did this competition."The preparation for this meet was not the best, it has been hard to get into it. When you are abroad in international competition there's a huge atmosphere and excitement and pressure -- and that's great."Tom's coach Andy Banks added that taking part in the competition actually helped the teenager deal with his father's death."It's all about being with his friends from the diving world, competing and having fun and doing diving for the same reason he initially started diving, which was because he enjoyed it," said Banks."Part of the struggle Tom has had is the guilt feeling. He thinks that maybe people are looking on and saying, 'You shouldn't be here, you should be with your family, grieving and being morose'."But Tom has also looked at the fact that his dad would have hated him to have not competed. Certainly all the people I have spoken to are very proud of Tom for saying, 'That's what my dad would have wanted and that's what I'm going to try to do'."Daley will defend his world title crown in Shanghai next month, and Banks added that the diver believes his dad will still be looking on."One of the things that Tom has said, which I think is a great way of looking at it, is that somewhere, somehow, his dad will still have hold of that bloody great Union Jack he always had and he will still be waving it furiously and yelling at the top of his voice the way he always was."
The Independant - Sunday, 12 June 2011
On an industrial estate just south of Leeds city centre, diving world champion Tom Daley took the first steps on a journey to London 2012 he will make without the support and companionship of his father, Rob. For a lesser individual, it might have been an ordeal too far, given that Rob Daley, who died of brain cancer last month aged 40, was laid to rest only last Wednesday.
Tom pulled out of one of his speciality events at the British Gas national championships at the John Charles Centre for Sport, deciding he and his partner, Peter Waterfield, were not prepared for the men's 10 metre synchro which brought him one of his two gold medals at last year's Commonwealth Games. But, believing his father would have wanted him to compete, Tom took to the springboard for the men's 3m individual and will be in action on the 10m platform today.
Andy Banks, his coach at Plymouth Diving Club, said that had Daley not felt ready to compete this weekend he could have withdrawn, but that he believed his father would have been "heartbroken" had he stayed away.
"When I spoke to him on the Sunday after his father had passed away on the Friday, virtually the first thing Tom said to me was that he wantedto come in and train on the Tuesday morning," Banks said. "He said it was because that's what his dad would have wanted. And he said he was definitely going to do the nationals, because that was also what his dad would have wanted."
By the poolside, Daley appeared relaxed, smiling with his fellow competitors, waving to spectators and mingling with fans. There was a place, too, for his sense of humour to which he gave expression in a Tweet at the end of the 3m springboard preliminary round, when he confessed he "nearly fell of the board twice...:) brilliant! Haha...springboard and I don't see eye to eye sometimes!"
Having qualified in sixth, Daley finished fifth in the final, won by Jack Laugher. There was never any expectation that Daley would challenge for the medals. "I came here to compete because my dad would have wanted me to be here." he said. "But it is not my main event, I train for the springboard once a week and I do enjoy it but I use it as a fun event and to get into the competition. My main event is the 10m tomorrow and I can't wait."
Banks added: "He was a little worried that some people might think he shouldn't be here, that he should be at home grieving, but they are a remarkable group of people, the Daley family, tremendously strong and supportive to one another. I've seen Tom wobble only once, on the day his father died, and his family have come here today to be with Tom."
Rob Daley died five years after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. Yet, in spite of the draining effects of the illness and chemotherapy he had to undergo, Rob attended every competition in which his son took part until the Commonwealth Games in Delhi last October, when doctors advised him not to travel.
He doubted his ability to survive to see his son in London next September only when a second tumour was discovered in February this year but, determined not to be defeatist about his condition, Rob was at the poolside, in his wheelchair, when Tom won the men's 10m synchro final in partnership with Waterfield at the Diving World Series leg in Sheffield in April. It would be the last event he would attend and the last in which Tom would participate until this weekend.
Tom's preparation for London 2012 will be based on four events. These begin with the World Championships in Shanghai next month, when he is expected to attempt a tougher programme than he followed when he unexpectedly won the 10m title two years ago. Next year he has the World Cup in London in February, an Olympic qualifying event, plus the National Cup and the British Championships.
'I train six days a week but I am part-time compared to Chinese divers.
On Friday I go to school then do two hours training, then back to school, then back to the pool to have physio, back to school again and then back to the pool for three hours.
It's a lot of stress on your body – you're jumping off two double-decker buses and half a car and hitting the water at 40mph.
I've got a relatively normal life.
I've got a relatively normal life.
I've still got to go to school; I've still got a mum who tells me off if I do something wrong; I've still got two annoying younger brothers.
I've had the same friends for ages.
It's not been an easy few months because of what happened with Dad, but I am trying to focus all my attention on my diving.
I've gone away to competitions on my own since I was 10 and have had to be mature, but I do have my 17-year-old times.
I've gone away to competitions on my own since I was 10 and have had to be mature, but I do have my 17-year-old times.
I don't drink, though; I've only ever had one glass of champagne in my life, on my 16th birthday. It was a not-very-nice-tasting drink. So I'm the story teller after parties.
My friends say: "Did I really do that?" And I'm like: "Yeah, you did."
People should try it: go out and watch your friends get drunk and tell them what happened the next day.
My weakness is ice cream, and I love Fabs.
The most important thing for me is to keep my strength-to-height ratio the same.
I'm 5ft 9in now, which is tall for a diver – divers are normally 5ft 6in and quite compact and spinny – so I'm hoping I'm not going to grow much more.
I sometimes dream about diving or podiums, and hear the national anthem in random places. But it's never been at the Olympics in my dreams – and I've never found out the result. I'm always left in anticipation.'
Tom Daley has decided to leave school early in an attempt to renew his dream of being crowned Olympic champion in London.
The 17-year-old diving sensation lost his world title in Shanghai on Sunday, finishing fifth in the 10-metre platform - nearly 80 points behind the sport's new robotic genius, China's Qiu Bo.
Bo and his team-mates, who between them won all 10 diving gold medals in the World Championships, are trained with an intensity that allows little time for distractions - and that is the model Daley is trying to replicate back home in Plymouth.
Tom Daley was unable to push for gold in the 10m final
'From January onwards I'm going to take a break from school, so that I have that half a year to train for the Olympics,' Daley told Sportsmail.
'I'm hoping to get my A-levels done by then and if I have to retake any of them I'll do that in June or go back to school the following year.
'It's going to be good to concentrate on diving rather than splitting my time with school. I've never done that before. I will be able to work on my consistency, with nothing else to worry about. It's important when you are diving against the Chinese. They are so far ahead of everyone else.' Daley, who is on a scholarship to the private Plymouth College, has already completed his photography A-level but still has exams to sit in maths and Spanish.'
Daley looks dejected after finishing fifth in Shanghai
The school is flexible, working with Daley's family and his coach Andy Banks in fitting classes around his diving commitments across the world.
He now has to cram extra work into the next six months to free him up to polish his exacting new dive-list in time for next summer's Olympics.
His preparations are helped by the planned opening of the new Plymouth pool complex in January.
Daley's performance on Sunday - coming two months after the death of his father Rob - was a mixed report. By finishing in the top eight, he qualified for next year's World Series, a crucial training process ahead of London. But, two years after winning the World Championship in Rome at the age of 15, he is staring at the new global power.
Qiu Bo stormed to the gold medal in front of the home fans
Bo was beyond competition - 41.24 points clear of silver medallist David Boudia of America, with Germany's Sascha Klein third.
Bo's bravura show included a full house of seven perfect 10s for his reverse three-and-a-half somersaults tucked.'At the moment, Qiu Bo just seems unstoppable,' admitted Daley. 'He's winning by such huge margins, though it will be interesting how he copes with the pressure of the Olympics because it will be his first Games.' Daley's synchro partner Peter Waterfield, suffering illness throughout his stay in China, was 11th.
Tom Daley is a lovely lad, the model of politeness and charm, 17 going on 37 in the mature way he handles his media duties like a smooth old pro.
He smiles and enthuses about his Olympic challenge, about being the Games poster boy in London
Yet all the time his fresh face betrays not a hint of the sadness and inner turmoil which must have enveloped him on the road to 2012.
It is an impenetrable mask.
His father, Rob, one of life’s cheery, winning characters who lived every moment of Tom’s career as if he were leaping off the diving board himself, died after a long battle with cancer a month earlier and the subject is still deemed off-limits by his management.It is the elephant in the room which conceals what Daley, just a boy, but one living in a very public spotlight as one of the host nation’s biggest Olympic stars, must still be enduring.
But even as the subject is tiptoed around, you find yourself feeling even more admiration for Daley’s relentlessly positive demeanour and evident courage in plunging straight back into action in the national championships a fortnight after his father’s death.
Then it quickly dawns what the great comfort blankets in his life have to be now.
Not just the love and support of his family but, actually, the sport of diving itself.
“Yes, diving has been a comfort, it’s part of a routine for me, something I’ve always done, something hopefully I’ll do for a long time. It’s my form of escape, I guess. You can get away from everything,” he says.“That competition in Sheffield obviously came at a tough time, but it was something I had to do. I never did think of pulling out, it was something my dad would have wanted me to do. It was quite nice to just escape from everything.“In London, it will be an all-or-nothing approach, really,” he says, explaining why he has gambled with new dives, the hardest in the book.
“It’s a big risk putting them in, but I think they’re the only ones that are going to be able to get you the gold medal in London, rather than playing it safe with easier dives.“If it goes well, gold and silver; and if not so well, seventh or eighth. Yet I’d rather take the risk because I’ll only have this chance once in a lifetime to compete in front of a home crowd at an Olympics.”
And what if he did blow that “once in a lifetime” chance? “All I can do is go out there and try my absolute best and if it’s not enough, well, there’s always 2016, 2020 and 2024.”Goodness, what with his record-breaking debut at 14 in the Beijing Games, when he became Britain’s second youngest male Olympian, wouldn’t we then be talking about the possibility of him competing in five Olympics? “I’d love to do that. I don’t know what the record is but Steve Redgrave did five Games, so I might have to go for six.“That would be cool to do the most Olympics. My partner in the synchro event, Pete Waterfield [with whom Daley finished sixth in Shanghai last week], is still performing really well at 30. It’s very tough physically, though. You hit the water at 34mph so it takes a toll on your shoulders, wrists, triceps, back. So it just depends on how long your body holds out amid all the continuous stresses and strains.”
Not to mention how long your bravery can sustain you. Courage always overcomes fear as it courses through the lad, just as it has done ever since he was a 10 year-old trying to hold back the tears while crawling to the edge of a 10m board.
“If you get a dive wrong, it can hurt a lot. Instant bruising, to say the least, severe injuries, split skin. It’s horrible.”
No wonder there are days when it is such a slog to fit in his A-level studies at Plymouth College — he gets his photography result in August and hopes to take his maths and Spanish exams by January — and around 28 hours a week practice that he feels like staying in bed.
But it never lasts long. “I love it too much. I guess it’s almost like arguing with a brother. Every now and again, you get annoyed with them and think, ‘I don’t ever want to talk to you again’, and then the next day, you’re best friends again.”
He protests he is just an ordinary teenager but diving has made him different, more self-disciplined. He will go to parties with his mates and be the one who stays so sober he can tell them the next day how they embarrassed themselves.
Normal teenagers don’t start sentences with: “I was doing a photo shoot for Italian Vogue with Kate Moss at a swimming pool.”
Because Daley is not ordinary, he is extraordinary and never more so than right now, trying to beat the world with a smile on his brave face.
How proud his dad, who first nurtured a rare talent to blossom, would be to hear his boy declare: “I don’t do this sport just to win an Olympic gold. I do it because I love it and I’m going to keep going as long as I’m enjoying it.”
MONDAY 21 MAY 2012
MONDAY 21 MAY 2012
Tom Daley celebrated his 18th birthday as the European 10m platform champion after a dominant performance in Eindhoven.
Daley had blitzed his rivals in the morning's preliminary round and there was no let-up in the final as he comfortably reclaimed the crown he first won as a 13-year-old in this same city.
Daley twice scored 10s, and could even have attracted more for his most difficult front four-and-a-half somersaults dive, on the way to a personal best 565.05.
Daley has delivered his London hopes a sizeable boost in the past three months, following his public criticism by performance director, Alexei Evangulov, capped by last night's display.
After Evangulov's comments he has won silver at the opening three legs of the World Series before finishing with gold, in the absence of the world champion Qiu Bo, in Mexico last month.
That performance was his previous best and Daley believes his continued improvement could be a reason for consternation among his Chinese rivals.
"I think they'll notice," he said.
"I don't know if they'll be watching the European Championships too closely but I guess the word will spread about my score. It might say to them I'm coming up and doing it consistently to challenge them."
10 June 2012
Tom Daley will aim to sound a final warning to his Chinese rivals in his last competition before the Olympics at the British Gas Diving Championships.
Daley will head into the 10-metre platform Olympic qualifier as a sure-bet favourite to secure his London place after qualifying first with a massive 116.40 gap ahead of nearest rival Pete Waterfield.
The 18-year-old highlighted another impressive display with 10s on his final two dives to fall just short of his personal best 565.05.
It is a mark he will try to break this evening in what will be his final competition before he goes head-to-head with the all-conquering Chinese at the Olympic Aquatics Centre this summer.
'Obviously it would be great if the Chinese saw my scores and thought, "Wow, he's doing well",' Daley said.
'It's nice to try to scare people but then for me the only thing I can do is concentrate on my performance and all they can do is concentrate on theirs.
'In the final I want to sharpen up a little bit more - and get a bigger score.'
Daley has established himself as the closest rival to the Chinese ahead of the Games after a career-best season so far.
After being crowned overall World Series champion he reclaimed the European title with his personal best in Eindhoven last month.
'I'm loving my diving at the moment,' he said. 'I've been working really hard in the off-season and throughout this year and making sure I'm doing lots of volume on my dives and getting lots of numbers under my belt. Now the consistency is showing.
'I'm going into each competition knowing I can perform and score a 10. It's just about doing it on the day.'
With the Olympics now just 47 days away, the pressure is starting to build on the teenager who is set to be one of Great Britain's poster boys this summer.
Daley is, however, confident he will handle his hyped status despite admitting to some nerves.
'It's getting closer and closer. It's scary to think that it's under 50 days now,' he said.
'Tonight is going to be my last competition before the Olympic Games which is scary too.
'But there's always pressure going into any competition for anyone. For me it's just about concentrating on my own individual performance - that's all I can control.'
Honours and awards
Named Youngster of the Year by BBC South West in 2005. Named BBC South West Sports Personality of the Year, and Young Sports Personality of the Year, 2009. Short-listed to the final ten for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award in 2006. Short-listed to the final three for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award in 2008. Named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year 2007, 2009 and 2010 (only person ever to win this award more than once). Short-listed to the final ten for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2009 and 2010. Ranked #63 in Time's 2008 edition of 100 Olympic Athletes To Watch Won LEN Magazine's "Athlete of the Year" award for mens' divers, 2009, on behalf of the European Swimming Federation. The award is voted for by representatives of all European Aquatic Federations and the media. Nominated for the 2010 Laureus World Sports Award for Breakthrough of the Year.
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