Revelation’s Revolutions as Diving’s Daley goes for gold
England’s Tom Daley is preparing to defend his Commonwealth title in the 10 metre platform, after a turbulent last four years, in which he has had to come to terms with the death of his father, and endure bullying on social media about his sexuality.
“The public support has been overwhelming,” Daley said. “Everyone’s been so nice.” It is also, he adds, a “massive weight” off his shoulders.
“Right now, all I concentrate on is diving,” the 20-year-old continued. “I don’t have any other worries. I’m happy with life, I’m happy with diving.”
Daley, a world champion in 2009, is just focusing on his diving and admits he still feels nervous when he competes.
“When you look down, your knees go weak, your legs go to jelly and it’s terrifying,” he says.
“I’ve done a lot of work on it. I’m quite optimistic that, come the Commonwealth Games, I can nail it.
“Recently at the World Cup, I actually outscored the Chinese at it so it’s definitely getting a lot better.
“It’s still scary and it’s always going to be at the back of my head. But it’s definitely the best it has been for a long time.”
His former mentor, Leon Taylor, who invented the “demon dive” in 1998, has encouraged Daley to adapt his routine and add more variety.
“It’s mind games basically and not about your ability to do the specific dive,” said Taylor. “All divers go through it.
“What you have with a problem dive is an increased level of anxiety, and the more nervous you get the worse the problem becomes.
“You over-think things and get into a negative downward spiral. Your state of mind isn’t under control and you’re fearful of what might happen.”
For Daley, who is odds-on at 1/2 to retain his title, he is just keeping his feet on the board.