After a shaky start in the preliminaries on Friday night, Tom Daley settled his nerves to put in a stunning display to secure his place in last night’s final of the Men’s 10m platform diving.
Joining him in the final were the Chinese pair of Qiu Bo and Lin Yue – who both looked on top form and retained their place as favourites for gold and silver.
As the competitors lined up for the final, there were deafening cheers for Daley from a crowd that included David Beckham and plenty of Daley’s fellow Team GB members. The final was, however, missing someone. Defending Olympic champion and So So Gay favourite, Matthew Mitcham, narrowly missed out on a place in the final after an inconsistent performance that saw him finish down in 13th place; agonisingly outside the top 12 who made it through to the final. His heartache was all to clear to see as he made his way off poolside after the semi-final.
So to the final – and there was drama on the first dive for Daley, as flash bulbs from the excited crowd caused a distraction and lead him to falter on his back 2 ½ somersaults, 2 ½ twists. Emerging from the pool, his disappointment was clear and it looked as though his quest for gold was over before it had begun. After a quick word with his coach, they signalled to the event official and requested a re-dive. Following a successful appeal, Daley was allowed a re-dive that scored 91.80 leaving him in third place after the first round. The quest was back on.
The Chinese divers both completed exceptional dives in the second round, which saw them both jump up the leader-board into the top two spots. This was how it stayed to the halfway mark.
Round four of dives saw an error from Lin Yue that effectively knocked him out of medal contention. From this point on it looked as though the medals were going to be shared between Qiu Bo, David Boudia and Daley.
An excellent fifth round dive put Daley on top of the leader board with by 0.15 points over both Boudia and Qiu Bo in equal second, setting up an incredibly tense final round of dives.
Only two exceptional dives from both Qiu Bo and Boudia could deny Daley a gold or silver medal and that is what happened as both exceeded 100 points. However, it didn’t go with the book as it was Boudia who clinched gold and the devastation could be seen on Qiu Bo’s face.
It was Daley though who had the biggest smile on the podium. After such a difficult year following the recent death of his father to a brain tumour and all the criticisms about his preparations coming into the games, this was his moment.