Tokyo 2020 - ‘I’m the granddad of the sport’ - Team GB’s Tom Daley looks ahead to the Olympics
Britain’s two-time Olympic bronze medallist says he will keep going as long as his body will allow, but concedes that at 26, he is “old” for diving. Daley says he does not know if Tokyo will be his last Olympics, but believes becoming a dad has taken the pressure off since being in peak shape at Rio 2016.
Tom Daley will be going for a third Olympic medal in Tokyo
Tom Daley explains how he coped with intensity of Olympic fame in 2012
It has already been a long career for one of the poster-boys of the Great Britain team, having burst on to the scene as a 13-year-old by winning gold at the European Championships in 2008.
“I’ll keep going as long as my body will allow,” Daley told The Times.
I’m like the granddad of the sport. I’m old now for diving. I am still terrified every time I go out there. I mean, it’s not human to throw yourself off a 10m platform.
Despite all the years of doing it, Daley admits he still finds it tough to plunge himself into a pool from a great height. He is currently ‘dry training", much like a gymnast, but hurling himself into sponges.
“I’ve coughed up blood, hit my hands, my feet,” said Daley as he reflected on how physically punishing the sport is.
I’ve got a high pain threshold, especially when training through injuries. I want to keep pushing. I’m able to tolerate a lot when exercise gets really challenging.
“There’s that weird feeling like it’s going to be impossible, but you’re doing it anyway.”
There has been a massive change in Daley’s life since Rio - becoming a dad with his Oscar-winning husband Dustin Lance Black, an American screenwriter. They’ve since had Robbie Ray, who is nearly three, and Daley says being a father has changed his views on the sport ahead of Japan.
“2016 was the Olympics that I felt I was at my best physical and mental condition, so that brought pressures and expectations,” he said.
“But now, my perspective has shifted. Being a parent, a year in a global pandemic, you realise the things that matter most.
“You realise things can change at any moment, spanners can be thrown into the works. And I’ve almost enjoyed diving more, because I feel really grateful.
I realise that actually, it’s just a game. It’s the Olympic Games, right? And if you have that perspective, it takes so much pressure off.