Tom Daley exclusive
Tom Daley defied the odds to win Olympic bronze in the men's 10m platform diving competition. Having missed out on a medal in the synchro event after finishing fourth, he had only qualified 15th for the individual event but produced some of the best dives of his career to win a medal. A few days after the Games, Daley spoke to Orange about his Olympic journey, family tragedy and going back to school.
How does it feel to be an Olympic medallist?
It feels really good, actually it feels crazy to think I've finally got something to show for all the hard work particularly after such a dramatic competition. It was such a high standard of competition. At the last Olympics 538 points was enough for a gold while 555 wasn't even enough for a bronze medal at these Games. The standard's just gone up so much so it feels even more amazing to have achieved this.
Your start to the competition couldn't have been worse. Talk us through what happened.
I started off for my first dive and lots of flashes were going off. When you're twisting through the air, the flashes really disorientate you so I was out of shape by the time I hit the water. So I spoke to my coach and the officials, who agreed there were significant flashes going off. So they asked 'what do you want to do?' and I said 'retake the dive'. I was more nervous going up the second time as I wanted to make sure I did better.
How was it by the time of the final dive when you were in contention for a medal?
That was pretty nerve-wracking too but I took the do-or-die approach and gave it my best shot. It was the only thing that I could do. I gave it everything and thankfully landed the right way up which was a good start! And it ended up being good enough for a bronze medal and I was so happy for myself and my family.
How hard was it to pick yourself up for the individual event after coming so close to a medal in the synchro final?
I was gutted after the synchro event as was Pete [Waterfield, his diving partner]. It's the worst place you can finish but it gave me the extra motivation I needed to do well in the individual event. Without that, I'm not sure I would have got a medal in the individual event. Diving's such an odd sport. You had David Boudia qualifying in 18th place and then winning the gold medal. In the synchro, it just wasn't mine and Pete's day.
Did it help to return back to the holding camp in Southend and escape the Olympic bubble, and what did you do to switch off?
It was the best thing as we could concentrate on training when we wanted to, and my family were there so we went out to the cinema or played mini golf just to switch off.
Was it odd getting text messages from David Beckham and tweets from Cheryl Cole, and how do you handle that?
It was amazing and I always get star struck. I also got messages from Molly from the Saturdays as well as James Corden.
Your dad couldn't be there to watch it [Rob Daley died of a brain tumour last year]. What do you think he would have made of your success?
Dad would have been really proud. My dad came to training every day and watched every competition, so it was very sad he wasn't there to see it but I think he would have been very proud of me.
How do you feel now it's all over?
Kind of sad really. There's been so long building up to this and so much hard work gone into it. Bring on Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
What's it like being 10 metres up and looking down at the pool before a dive?
It never changes. I still get scared every time I'm up there, it's just you get used to being scared.
So what's next?
I'm off to the World Junior Championships in Australia in October which will be my last competition in the juniors. I've had six years of competition in the seniors so it does sometimes still feel strange to be doing junior competitions. I'm back to school in September for the second year of my A-levels and, after that, I'm not sure. I might go to university.
Apart from your own medal, what were your Olympic highlights?
I loved watching Mo Farah win his gold medals and the way he celebrated with his family. I also really enjoyed seeing Jade Jones win the gold in the taekwondo.
Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley is sponsored by adidas, official sportswear partner of London 2012. #stagetaken