Tom Daley inspired by his late father

Daily Echo: Tom Daley and Pete Waterfield Tom Daley and Pete Waterfield

TOM Daley will dedicate any medal he wins at London 2012 to the memory of his inspirational father Robert.

Robert was instrumental in helping Daley establish himself as one of the world's top divers before he lost a long battle with brain cancer in May last year.

The 18-year-old keeps his dad’s ashes in his bedroom and views him as the greatest influence on a career that will enter the stratosphere should he strike gold in either of his two events.

“Winning a medal would make all the struggles that I’ve had worth while,” Daley said.

“It’s been my dream since a very young age to compete at an Olympics . I did that in Beijing for the experience, but now I want a good performance.

“I’m doing it for myself and my dad. It was both our dreams from a very young age.

“I always wanted to do it and dad was so supportive of everything. It would make it extra special to do it for him.

“I’ve got to try and win the medal first, but definitely I’d dedicate it to him.

“He’s the person who helped me and gave me all the inspiration that I’ve needed. He taught me all the lessons in life that I needed.”

Daley is competing in two events starting with the men’s 10m synchronised platform alongside Southampton -based partner Pete Waterfield on July 30.

Nearly two weeks later, on the penultimate day of the Games, he will aim for gold in the individual 10m platform- a standard he reached in the European championships in May.

Waterfield is also competing in the 10m individual, the event he took gold in at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

“For me it’s about doing the best six dives that I possibly can,” Daley continued.

“My dream is to win an Olympic gold medal, or any Olympic medal, but dreams and reality are two different things.

“Diving is such an on-the-day sport that no one knows what will happen because there are so many divers who can win.

“For me it’s about focusing on the process of each individual dive rather than the outcome.”

China’s world number one Qiu Bo will provide the greatest threat to Daley’s hopes of securing individual gold and the Plymouth Diving Club product insists victory will be decided by who best handles the pressure.

“Chinese divers tend to dominate everything to the extent that winning a silver is like winning a gold,” he said.

“Qiu Bo has been unbeaten for a very long time now and has been diving so well.

“It will be interesting to see what happens on the day. It’s his first Olympic games and he’s one year older than me.

“He’s been put through the Chinese diving system from a very young age, but anything can happen. It’s about who performs on the day.”

Daley and his fellow Team GB diving squad members stayed in the athletes’ village on Monday night before returning to Southend for their Games pre-camp.

Even though the time spent at the Olympic Park was brief, Daley insists it has whetted the appetite for what is to come.

“It’s awesome, it really is. I didn’t want to come back to Southend because we were immersed in the atmosphere!” he said.

“We were the first British team to enter the Olympic village so it was really exciting.”

  • By Duncan Bech.

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