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that he had been regularly bullied at school since the Olympics, and his father told the BBC that he had temporarily withdrawn him from Eggbuckland because its response to the problem had been ineffective.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.
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've got a relatively normal life.
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.
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.
STOP PRESS Daley's Olympic preparations boosted after victory in Mexico
With his major Chinese rival and world champion Qiu Bo absent, Daley stamped his authority over an otherwise world-class field to score 562.85.
That was almost 20 points clear of his closest challenger as the 17-year-old proved he is the biggest threat to Bo at this summer's Olympic Games in London.
Daley had claimed silver in the opening three legs of the World Series, finishing behind Bo in the opening two, to undermine claims he is not on course for an Olympic medal.
British Diving performance director Alexei Evangulov warned Daley in February that he faced bombing out in London because he was allowing his media commitments to affect his training.
Evangulov also likened Daley to fallen-star former tennis player Anna Kournikova and claimed his Chinese rivals "trained three times harder".
Today's performance was, however, undoubtedly Daley's best as he narrowly beat his highest World Series score by 0.05 points, rounding out his performance by attracting a 10 for his final dive.
Waterfield had been fourth heading into the final dive but the veteran had to be content with sixth place.
Daley's gold medal capped a memorable day for Great Britain as men's 3m synchro pair Chris Mears and Nick Robinson-Baker claimed silver - the first ever global medal as a partnership.
The pair were beaten only by Chinese duo Kai Qin and Yutong Lou as they stunned their rivals with a score of 436.74.
The meet then concluded with a bronze for women's platform team Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow.
The duo had failed to claim a medal at the World Series since their third placing at the World Cup, but served as a reminder they are an Olympic hopeful as they edged Canada out of the medals by just 0.06 points with a score of 317.94.