CHRIS Mears is lucky to be alive but will be competing at his first Olympics next month.
In January 2009, he was given only a five per cent chance of survival after suffering a ruptured spleen at the Youth Olympic Games in Australia.
Incredibly he not only survived but recovered to the extent where he was able to qualify for London 2012 in two events.
Mears will be competing in the 3m springboard synchro with Nick Robinson-Baker, a 25-year-old Devonian, on August 1 and in the individual 3m springboard from August 6-7, having won gold and bronze respectively at this year’s British Championships.
Jack Laugher, a 17-year-old sensation from Yorkshire, will be among his rivals in the 3m individual but just being at the Olympics is an incredible achievement considering what Mears has been through.
“It’s going to be the best time of our lives and there’ll be no stress for me I just think of it as a celebration,” he says. “I’m just going to enjoy it.”
Mears bears more than a passing resemblance to the most well-known member of the 12-strong Great Britain team, Tom Daley.
But he is a star in his own right. The 19-year-old’s dedication has seen him travel down from Reading on a daily basis to train at The Quays in Southampton alongside fellow Olympians Pete Waterfield and Stacie Powell.
And this has been his most consistent year of competition under the tutelage of Southampton Diving Academy coach Lindsey Fraser.