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Tom Daley clinches emotional Olympic medal

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11th August 2012

Tom Daley clinched an historic 10m Platform bronze to bring aquatics events at the London 2012 Olympic Games to a breathtaking and emotional conclusion.

Having qualified fourth from this morning’s semi-final, the Commonwealth and European Champion stepped up his game when it mattered most, scoring 556.95 to land Great Britain’s first individual Olympic diving medal since 1960.

Honestly this medal means so much to me – it’s unbelievable.

In a nail-biting final, David Boudia won gold in 568.65 ahead of China’s world champion Qiu Bo who took silver on 566.85.

But Daley’s bronze earned the adulation of the crowd as the 18-year old delivered with his performance of the competition.

Daley has been the star name of the British Diving team since finishing seventh in this event on his Olympic debut as a 14-year old at the Beijing Games in 2008.

He took a surprise gold at the World Championships in 2009 before adding the Commonwealth crown and a second European title in 2010 and 2012 respectively.

But having also dealt with personal tragedy with the loss of his father to cancer last year as well as the immense pressure and expectation of being the poster boy of London 2012, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as the entire British Diving team joined Daley in the pool to celebrate.

"Honestly this medal means so much to me – it’s unbelievable," said Daley. "It’s been the toughest year of my life. Losing my dad – it was a shame he wasn’t here to see that today because I know he would’ve been proud of me for what I’ve done.

"To go into the prelim yesterday and have a shaky start and only scrape through to the semi-final then to come back this morning and not lose confidence, I’m just literally so happy right now and I really do wish my dad was here to see that.

"It’s one of those things I’ve just waited so long to compete in front of this home crowd and I was desperate for it to go the way I wanted to.

"Today I went out there and gave it my best shot and gave it absolutely everything. But I’m so happy and I can’t wait to see my family now and celebrate."

The evening had threatened to start sourly for the Brit after flash photography disrupted his opening dive – the back 2 ½ somersaults, 2 ½ twists in pike.

But Daley was immediately granted a re-dive and held his never to score 91.80 and place third after the first round.

With his second dive the lowest difficulty tariff on his list of 3.2, it was no surprise to see Daley drop out of the top three, despite receiving 9s from the judges for 86.40 overall.

But a stunning armstand back triple somersaults in pike saw him jump back to fourth as he picked up 92.75.

The tension was palpable as the teenager stepped up for his fourth dive, the forward 4 ½ somersaults with tuck, as it carried the highest difficulty tariff on his list of 3.7.

But the crowd needn’t have worried as Daley executed a sumptuous dive, picking up 8.5s and 9s from the judges for his highest score of the final – 98.05 – to climb into third.

The Brit was in dreamland a dive later as his make-or-break back 3 ½ somersaults in pike went for 97.20, elevating him to the top of the leaderboard for the first time.

I've lost seven and a half kilos this year and worked so hard but now everything has been worth it and I can’t wait to go eat what I like.

Daley knew his final dive was a full 0.3 lower tariff than Boudia and Qui’s, but he couldn’t have done much more with his effort, receiving a 10 from one judge as he finished with 90.75 for his reverse 3 ½ somersaults with tuck.

And the Brit admitted he was feeling the pressure as he took to the platform to perform his final dive of the Games, knowing one error would put paid to his medal dreams.

"To be honest, I was very nervous," said Daley. "I just went in with the mentality of just do or die.

"I put everything in to it. I was in first place going in to the last round and I didn’t have the degree of difficulty in the last round to match David or Qiu so I knew I had to do a good dive.

"So to come away with 9s I knew I would have a medal and that it was solid so that for me was the main aim in London.

"I’ve lost seven and a half kilos this year and worked so hard but now everything has been worth it and I can’t wait to go eat what I like!"

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