British diving star Tom Daley tells Chinese rivals: ‘I’m the one to beat’
British diving star Tom Daley ramped up pressure on his Chinese rivals on Thursday saying they will have to beat him if they want to win Rio Olympic gold.
Daley is only 22 but already at his third Olympics and he says only gold will do, after winning an emotional bronze in the 10m platform, his main event, at London 2012.
Daley, who also goes in the men’s synchronised 10m platform with Daniel Goodfellow, said thoughts of his father Rob, who died aged 40 of cancer in 2011, will be extra motivation.
“I’m going into these Olympic Games for a gold medal and I’m going in with the mentality that the Chinese have to beat me, I don’t have to beat them,” Daley said on the eve of the opening ceremony in Rio.
“I’ve always wanted to win an Olympic gold medal and to do it for my Dad would be absolutely amazing.
“It’s not just me standing up on that board, but everyone around me, coaches, friends, family, support staff, everyone who gets you to that point.”
China’s Chen Aisen and Qiu Bo – the world champion – are both major threats to Daley, as is reigning Olympic champion David Boudia of the United States.
Daley, who won European gold as a 13-year-old in 2008, is relishing the pressure “because having that in a competition gets the adrenaline going and it makes you feel like you need to sharpen up and do things well”.
“Going into these Olympic Games, I feel like I’m at my most consistent, I feel ready physically, psychologically, everything, so I’m really excited for the Games to start because I’m ready to give the Chinese a run for their money,” he added.
Ramping up the pressure on his rivals – and himself – Daley, one of the most prominent members of Team GB, said he felt Rio could be his best chance for gold-medal glory.
“My body is a little bit older than I actually am, but what comes with that is experience and also, because I am younger, I heal quicker and I’m at my strongest,” said Daley, who has a tattoo of the Olympic rings on one bicep.
“I do feel like these Olympic Games are definitely going to be the peak Games for me.”